Fitness Tips I Learned from my Dogs: Eliminating Excuses
Before we start our FitDog Friday post, we have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! Our co-host Peggy Frezon is resigning from her hosting duties to pursue some other interests with her blog, The Writer’s Dog, but we are lucky enough to have Emma from MyGBGV Life to take over the co-hosting duties. You probably already know Emma and her sisters Bailie & Katie, but if you don’t, here’s your opportunity to get to know them. They are GBGV’s and have a really active lifestyle with their mom. They run, travel and most fun of all, they do nose work and write about that process all the time. Please welcome Emma and her family as our new FitDog Friday co-host!Today we continue our “Fitness Tips I Learned from my Dogs” series. We have already written about having fun with fitness, the importance of variety when exercising, and the value of proper rest. Today’s tip is about eliminating excuses.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting and staying fit is figuring out how to work out consistently each week. For most of us, there is often some reason or excuse that we use to skip a workout. Some of the more common ones include: we don’t feel well, our knee hurts, we are tired, we are too busy, or it’s too cold, too hot, or too wet outside. Although these can be valid excuses on occasion, if most of us thought like our dogs, we would have a much fitter nation (and world).
Dogs Don’t Use Excuses
Unlike humans, most dogs don’t think up excuses to miss their workout. Whether it is a walk, a run, advanced agility drills, or whatever activity you have planned, dogs tend to look forward to the workout and prefer not to miss it!
Although I have been dedicated to fitness for most of my adult life and am one of the people that strives to workout at least once per day, 365 days per year, I have still learned from my dogs when it comes to eliminating excuses and finding a way to workout instead of finding a reason not to. Of all the dogs that I have had in the past, this philosophy was best exemplified by my dogs Tino and Becca.
Tino was a rescue that had hereditary glaucoma and he became blind at the age of about 9. Completely blind in both eyes mind you. Soon after he lost vision in his second eye, I remember thinking that would be the end of our runs together and hoped that he would still be able to at least walk. Wow, was I wrong. Tino did not use his blindness as an ‘excuse’, nor did he exhibit any self-pity. Instead, when we strapped on his leash, he just started running as if nothing at all had changed. He was a real inspiration to me and I used his example many times when I had injuries and other setbacks. Instead of just sitting around and feeling sorry for myself, I figured out creative ways to get a workout in, no excuses, just like Tino.
Our Lab Becca was another great example of a no excuse approach to exercise. Poor Becca was a service dog that we rescued when she was 10 years old. Her prior owner used her to carry books and it showed. Her spinal cord was completely fused! She had very limited back leg strength and was often in pain due to her spinal nerves pinching. Yet, Becca was always ready to go for a run or play fetch. She didn’t use her bad back as an excuse, she would do anything she could to exercise, play, or both. Even when Becca was in the later stages of bone cancer, she still did all she could to play some fetch with us. I can’t even imagine the pain she was in but it rarely stopped her. Like Tino, Becca was a true inspiration to me and reinforced the idea in my mind that “where there is a will, there is a way” when it comes to exercise.
To this day, I integrate this thinking into my workout plans. I try to spread this philosophy to my fellow human workout partners (often to their dismay) as I call them out for missing their workouts or taking it to easy due to some half-cocked excuse. Have an injury? Find a workaround! Working long hours? Go for a run at lunch! Can’t run due to an injury? Do some hand cycling or go for a swim.
As Tino and Becca have shown, excuses are a dime a dozen but moving around and being active, no matter what obstacles you are facing, is possible with a little grit and determination, Next time you are thinking about missing a workout, ask yourself a question: “What would Tino or Becca do?”