How to Stay Fit in Winter with the Help of Your Dog! 5 Easy Tips

Don’t let that cold stop you from working up a sweat and spending some precious time with your furry member of the family.

We get it – it’s hard to summon up the strength to workout (let alone get out of your pjs) in winter, which makes a lot of us feel at a loss for how to stay fit in winter when there’s simply no motivation.

We’d rather reach for another cookie and cup of hot chocolate then attempt to squeeze into a pair of workout leggings – even your dog might think twice about heading out for a walk when the temperatures force us to stay inside where it’s warm.

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But what if we told you that exercising doesn’t have to mean leaving your house and braving the cold? And being stuck indoors doesn’t have to mean you are forced into hibernation for the winter. You can still stay fit, work up a sweat and have a good time with your furry bestie, while you’re inside and warm!

How to Stay Fit in Winter with Your Dog’s Help

1.     Treat time = sweat time

Now, if you are anything like us, we love to treat our pets to some delicious and well-deserved treats on the daily. So, the next time you want to give your dog a treat, do 10 squats, and slowly start to build this up as you go.

If squats aren’t your thing, then do some lunges or jumping jacks. You’ll be surprised as to how many extra calories you can burn in a day just by adding in little bits of exercise throughout your day. It’s not always about a hardcore workout that leaves you breathless.

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2.     Pawsome stairs

If you have a stairway in your house, you can replace the stepper at the gym with real stairs and get in a great workout! Check out this video on the various workouts you can do with your dog up and down the stairs.

3.     Fetch the core!

This game is best done in a garden or larger room. The idea here is that you get into an active crunch position (seated on the floor) and throw the ball for your dog (whilst staying activated in your core), when he goes to fetch the ball, you get your crunches in! This is a great way to strengthen your core and have some playtime with your pooch!

4.     Follow the leader

This is a great way to get in some cardio and bond with your dog! Bring along a treat and have your dog follow you around (you can speed it up by running around your garden or lounge), when your dog gets in front of you, change directions.

Expert tip – this is also a great way to train your dog to follow you when you go on walks together. It’s also just a great and simple workout to squeeze into a busy day.

5.     Tug-of-war

A simple yet effective way to get in a good workout for you and your dog! Tug-of-war is a fun and enjoyable game for your dog to play, plus it strengthens the bond between you and your dog. This game can help your dog to build confidence and get rid of excess energy.

Did you know that working dogs are often rewarded with a classic game of tug-of-war? Keep in mind that you should not use a toy with sharp edges (such as a stick). Toys for tug-of-war should be soft to protect your dog’s mouth. An old towel tied in a knot or a piece of rope works well.

Heads up – you should always let your dog win! If your dog is still a puppy, bear in mind that their teeth are not yet fully developed. Which means you need to be gentle when pulling on the toy, it might be best to leave the pulling to your dog and keep the game short and sweet.

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How much exercise does a dog need a day?

This will depend on the breed and age of your dog. Before you take your dog for a long run or get involved in a strenuous workout, make sure you chat with an expert (like your vet) as to what kinds of exercise and how much exercise your dog needs.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Most breeds require a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day
  • Your dog’s exercise requirements will depend on their age, breed and general health
  • Short-nosed dogs should not engage in strenuous activity that might compromise their breathing
  • Deep-chested and narrow-bodied dogs (i.e. Great Danes and Dobermans) should not be exercised right after eating as they are prone to bloat
  • The safest bet for exercising puppies is short, easy walks and playing on non-slippery surfaces.

Yours in Not-So-Average Pet Advice,

The Team