Dog Fitness Tips: Consistency
Our “6 C’s Pyramid” for fitness provides a framework upon which a lifestyle fitness program can be created. Once you and your dog have mastered the 1st level (convenience, cross training, and common sense), you will now move into the second level where you will start to reap the benefits. Consistency is the 1st component of the middle tier of the pyramid and just might be the most important “C” of all.
Consistent Workouts for Dog Fitness
No matter which types of exercise you and your dog like to do, one of the most important aspects of a canine (and human) fitness program is consistency. Without consistent, regular exercise, the body will not be able to capitalize on your efforts and progress will be minimal at best. We see this all the time in the human fitness industry. How many times have you heard a gym friend or a running partner who shows up once a week or twice a month complain about their lack of progress? The fact is that the body will begin to lose fitness after a week or two of inactivity, depending on your fitness levels and the type of exercise you and your dog perform.
Losing fitness after week long breaks is not the only part of the story, however. Sporadic training can result in little progress, which can disenchant the human participant, and can lead to a complete abandonment of any exercise routine for themselves and their pet. Anecdotal surveys suggest that humans who are inactive will likely have inactive and overweight pets as well. So let’s nip this in the bud and strive to be more consistent with our dog fitness and human fitness programs.
Fitness Consistency Defined
Assuming we all agree that maintaining a consistent fitness routine is good for our dogs and ourselves, the next step is to define fitness consistency. Like most things related to fitness, there is not a one size fits all answer. For an exercise-a-holic like me, consistency means a minimum of 1 workout, and often several workouts each day. I would guess that I easily average close to 900 exercise sessions per year. SlimDoggy Jack, a fit albeit senior dog, averages over one exercise session per day as well.
For many people and their dogs, daily exercise is hard to fit in to their busy schedules. If that is truly the case, then I recommend a minimum of 3-4 workouts per week, in the form of walks or jogs, as a measure of consistency. With that said, I would challenge all dog owners to strive for a daily minimum of 30 minutes of exercise with their dogs (and a little extra in the gym for themselves 2-3 times per week). This may sound daunting, but time management, especially in the morning, can help make this goal a reality. If you have a cramped schedule, try booking your exercise time with your dog as an appointment on your calendar and keep that appointment just as you would if it was a ‘real’ meeting.
Whether you can exercise daily or not, make sure to create a consistent schedule that will work for you and your dog and stick with it. If you are committed to exercising yourself and your dog, you might as well commit to exercising consistently so that you both can reap the benefits of your hard work.