Dogs have always been considered man's best friend. But did you know that they also make excellent running partners? If you have a dog, this is a good opportunity for you to bond with your pet as well as keep both yourself and your dog in top shape.
New research from the University of Missouri shows that canines are in fact better exercise buddies than humans. The study ran for 12 weeks and involved 35 people who were all assigned a walking/running program that lasted five days a week. Out of the 35 walkers, 23 selected a human to exercise with, either spouse or friend while the rest opted to run with dogs that came from the local animal shelter.
- Consistency: The dogs were more consistent with the exercise routine and these prompted the participants to stick with it. Those with human partners meanwhile skipped workouts from time to time. If it's hot and both the human runners agreed, they would call it a day and not go for a run.
- Speed: Not only that, those with pets as partners also had 28 percent increase in speed while those exercising with humans only had 4 percent increase.
All these facts and figures show you that it's better to have your furry friend as your jogging partner than a human. You do have to remember however that some rules are necessary to ensure success. Here are some things you have to keep in mind before you hit the streets with your pet.
Start with a Walking Program
Since you and your dog are new to running, it would be better to start with a few weeks of walking. This way, you can observe if your pet has any limping or other problems. After that, the program can be adjusted gradually until a comfortable running routine is established.
Always Warm Up
Just like humans, dogs need to warm up prior to exercise too. This helps prepare their lungs and muscles for the physical activity and get their circulation moving. Warm-up exercise can be a 5- to 7- minute walk around the block. It's also ideal to stretch the legs of your pet if you're going to engage in rigorous exercise.
Know the Basic Dog Rules
Running with a dog is not that simple. In fact, it can be hazardous if you don't know the rules and etiquettes. Here are some that you should always follow:
• Keep your dog on a leash.
• Run side by side.
• Clean up after your dog.
• Don't run in extreme weather conditions.
• Don't run in the dark.
• Avoid running across other dogs.
• Pay attention to traffic rules, signs, and lights.
• Respect other joggers and walkers.
• Avoid running on extremely hard surfaces.
• Bring sufficient water for you and your dog.
Cool Down After the Exercise
Cooling down is even more important than warming up for dogs so it's imperative that you set aside enough time for this part of the exercise before you go back home. Cool down by going on a short walk and stretching your dog's legs carefully.