By Tina Haupert
On the days when I am dragging, my dog, Murphy, reminds me that exercise should be fun. Murphy's energy is contagious, so it makes me look forward to our time together. He gets so excited before we go outside for a walk. Imagine if we all felt that excited before exercise! Here are six reasons why you should work out with your fury friend.
It's funDogs love to run and play, so it's no surprise how much Murphy and I enjoy being active together. On the days when I'm just not in the mood to exercise, the thought of playing outside with my favorite pug always gets me out of the house. A game of fetch or an "adventure walk" in the woods always leaves us both with smiles on our faces—and it burns calories!
You can't make excusesWhen Murphy is itching to get outside, it's hard to say no to that adorable pug face. He doesn't accept my excuses for missing a workout, so there's rarely a day that I don't do some sort of activity.
The stats aren't importantDuring my workouts, I used to worry about how many calories I burned or the distance I ran. But the calories and miles mean nothing to Murphy. He focuses only on the fun stuff—the sights, sounds, and smells of our exercise. Murphy reminds me that the best workouts are the ones during which we don't worry about the stats.
It's never the same workout twiceInstead of just taking Murphy outside for a walk around the block, I vary our walking routes around our neighborhood. The change of scenery keeps things interesting for both of us so our walks don’t get boring. And on the days we go to the park, Murphy and I play fetch. For a little extra calorie burn, I throw Murphy his tennis ball, and then race to grab it before he gets it. Murphy always beats me to the ball, but it’s still fun to try!
Fewer vet visitsOn our walks, Murphy and I improve our strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular ability, which ultimately leads to fewer vet visits for him (and doctor's visits for me).
A tired dog is a good dogI’ve noticed that on days when Murphy gets a good amount of exercise, he’s much better behaved. After a long walk, Murphy usually passes out on the couch (and snores loudly!), which means he's not elsewhere getting into trouble, like nabbing socks out of the laundry!