Do you have a weight loss goal? If so, you've probably heard that the best way to stick to your health plans is to have a weight-loss buddy. Your dog may be the perfect choice for a fitness pal, especially if he could stand to lose a few pounds himself. Read on for everything you need to know about training with your dog.
Finding Ways for Your Dog to Join in Your Weight Loss Goals
Including your dog in your weight loss activities can help boost your motivation to meet your health goals. The extra effort required to make a dog-friendly exercise routine might also spur you to plan out your workout ahead of time, since you'll have to figure out places and activities that will let you and your pooch be active together. Scheduling exercise can make it a more integral part of your life and increase the likelihood that you'll follow through, according to Shape. Over time, your dog will pick up on your exercise routine and give you a nudge when it's time to get busy burning calories.
Men's Health and other fitness gurus tout the benefits of staying motivated with a workout partner, but that buddy doesn't have to be human! Spending time with your dog has holistic benefits far beyond your waistline. Dogs have such a good influence on us that they serve as therapy and service animals for people who are blind or deaf, have limited mobility, or need emotional support for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to The Atlantic. Whether your dog is a working dog or just a pet, he's your lifelong companion. Staying focused on losing weight and eating better so you can be a more energetic, healthy pet parent can be a huge personal motivator.
Running and working out is also just another form of playtime for your dog, and when you increase playtime, both you and your pet will burn calories. However, there is another perk to increasing playtime: lower stress levels. Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which causes the body to store fat deep in the abdomen, notes Prevention. Reducing stress can help you to prevent weight gain before it even happens.
Whether it is adding an extra walk each day, creating an obstacle course in your backyard for you and your dog, or just finding a local puppy play group to attend together, more time playing as a pair will likely lead to better overall health for you and your furry friend.
Don't Be Afraid to Try Something New
When it comes to improving your eating habits, talk to your vet about healthy snacks that might be okay for you and your dog to enjoy together (maybe in different forms, like an apple for you and some chicken and apple treats for him). You and your dog should also increase your water intake and stay hydrated, especially during warm weather. If stress or boredom makes you snack, throw your dog a chew toy before you head to the fridge — and see if your craving is still there after an hour of romping around with your pet.
Making the commitment to lose weight and eat better (and getting your dog to do the same) can be a bit overwhelming at first, but having your pet as your weight loss buddy should make things more fun and purposeful. Have fun walking, running, and fetching toward your best results!