Your pet might already think she’s your security guard or rodent-wrangler. Maybe it’s time to add fitness coach to her job description. Fido and Fifi can be your secret weapons to better health, because they provide a great reason to move more, especially now when you’re sticking close to home.
Here are some good ways to get both of you off the couch and into action.
Walk the dog.
Even if your dog plays in the backyard, he still needs regular walks, and so do you. Physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week for adult humans. Studies have found that dog owners may live longer and people who walk their dogs get about 30 minutes more exercise per day than non-walkers. Some dogs make great running buddies, too.
Dogs can’t resist the lure of the stick, ball or frisbee, and cats love to chase string, small objects and just about anything else. Whether indoors or out, take time to play actively with your pet. And no, throwing the ball from the couch doesn’t count!
Water the lawn.
Most kids and dogs love running through the sprinklers or hose spray. Give them a workout while you get active tending the yard or garden. Your water-loathing cat, however, is excused. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Pack up your pet.
If you have a small dog or an indoor cat, consider getting a backpack-style carrier so you can bring him along on outdoor activities. The extra weight will add intensity to your workout and the company will keep you going.
Do the downward dog.
Is your pet pal curious when you exercise or practice yoga at home? Instead of shooing her away, let her get in on the fun! If she’ll stand for it, lift and lower her in your arms or on your legs. Again, the added weight will up the intensity, and you get the bonus of working out with your favorite furry friend.
Pamper your pet.
If professional grooming is off the schedule for a while, don’t slack on your buddy’s beauty routine. Bathing or brushing your pet is a good reason to break up a screen binge and may help you bond more.
Just hang out.
Petting any beloved animal can help lower your blood pressure and stress level. Spending time with your pet helps you relax and encourages the release of endorphins, brain chemicals that help us de-stress and feel good.
It doesn’t have to be all about dogs and cats, either. Turtles, guinea pigs, bunnies, parakeets and even fish can all contribute to a sense of companionship. And that’s always good for your heart.
To date, there’s no evidence of people getting coronavirus from pets. But animals can catch it from us, so people with the virus should not care for pets until they’ve recovered. Until the virus is under control, keep your pets indoors or on a leash at least six feet away from other animals and people. Animals can also spread other diseases to people, so you should always wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.
Move More Together! April 11 is National Pet Day. Give each other the gift of active time together!