The biggest hurdle for maintaining a fitness routine is usually motivation. Exercising with a friend is often recommended as a solution for maintaining motivation, but what happens if your friend wants to sit on the couch watching television as much as you do?
Dr. Marty Becker, an Idaho-based veterinarian and author of Fitness Unleashed: A Dog and Owner’s Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together, recommends having a four-legged friend as a fitness buddy, instead of the two-legged variety.
“Unlike humans, their motivation never peters out. Dogs don’t drop off one by one, like other fitness buddies,” said Dr. Marty Becker.
If you haven’t exercised for a long time and you feel uncomfortable revealing how unfit you really are to the world, your furry friend can also help to boost your confidence. A dog is not going to judge you – in fact, they will be grateful for any effort you put in, whether it’s a walk down the street or an early morning jog at the park. And they’ll never cancel on you.
California-based fitness trainer Tamilee Webb incorporates her shi tzu in much of her daily regime.
“If I go for a walk or hike, she’s in a doggy backpack to add a little extra weight,” said Webb. “I’ll do squats, lunges and pushes and she’ll still be on my back.”
“The great thing about exercising with a pet is that you don’t need a gym and you don’t need expensive equipment,” says Becker. “All you need is a good pair of shoes and a walking leash, and you’re out the door.”