12 Days of Fitness 5: Everybody Walk the Doggysaur
What better way to ring in the new year than with fresh ideas on fitness and weight loss? The 12 Days of Fitness brings you exactly that: Tips from the pros in the know.
Day 5 unveils something completely different —how to work out with your dog. You need exercise. Your doggie needs exercise (and if you have a cat—don't laugh. I used to take mine for walk on a leash. We got a lot of exercise when the dogs chased us!). Step out regularly and you have one svelte, healthy dog/human team. Andrea Servadio co-owner of Fitdog Sportsclub, gives you tips for getting rid of YOUR "pooch" with the help of your four-legged pooch.
Dogs require us to be more active on a daily basis, which can help jump start a weight loss routine or keep you at a healthy weight.
Most dogs require 2-3 walks per day at least 20 minutes to 1-hour long. If you are counting your steps, this can translate up to 5,000 to 10,000 steps a day. The American Council on Exercise estimates that the average person can burn up to 3,500 calories per week by walking 10,000 steps every day—that’s 1 lb a week. And your 1lb per week can also translate into a slimmer waistline for your dog, as well.
Dogs love being outside and participating in fun activities and games. Playing tug of war or throwing a ball can definitely burn a few extra calories for you, too. Throwing a ball can burn up to 174 calories per hour.
For more intense weight loss solutions, running with your dog can burn up to 600 calories an hour. If your dog is overweight, you might want to start by walking and then slowly introduce running 5 to 10 minutes at time (just like with humans). Hiking is a fun activity for owners, dogs and families, too, and depending on intensity, you can burn up to 400 calories an hour. Dogs love all of the new smells and sites, and you’ll also enjoy the view and the quality time spent with your dog.
Maintaining a healthy weight for you and your dog is about making a point of going on daily walks, spending 30 to 60 minutes at the dog park at least once a week and doing something more intense like hiking or running at least once a month.
I know someone who lost over 80 pounds because she got a dog! Dogs in general force people to be more active in their daily lives with activities like walking, hiking, going to the beach, parks, etc. This person said that she lost 10 pounds “without doing anything,” just taking care of her dog. The initial weight loss gave her motivation to do more, so she started exercising like walking longer distances and eventually running a marathon.
Andrea Servadio is the co-owner of Fitdog Sportsclub in Santa Monica, California, one of the premier dog care facilities in Los Angeles. Fitdog’s concept is to provide unique fitness-related services such as exercised-based board and train programs, treadmill training, canyon hikes, and beach excursions. Andrea and Brandy Han, her business partner, even organize and lead a weekly runners group where owners can get fit along with their dogs. For more more information, visit www.fitdogsportsclub.com or follow on Twitter at @fitdogsports.