Fitness Tips I Learned from my Dogs: Value of Rest
I haven’t written recently about “fitness tips I have learned from my dogs”. However, a recent run with our two Labradors had me inspired to share the experience and the associated learnings.
Over the past few weeks, a confluence of factors has made it more difficult for me to take the dogs to the trails for our runs. First of all, I have been very busy at work and have had to engage in a long commute to get to an office to meet with partners and colleagues. Round trip has been 3 ½ – 4 hours. Second, the California drought has broken and we have had lots of rain. Although this is a good thing (for the water supply and the vegetation), it limits our use of the trails due to extremely muddy conditions. (Think swamp like muck and mire).
Needless to say, these two factors have prevented me from running on the trails with the dogs. We still get our exercise in for sure, but not as much and we are forced to leash run on the streets. Overall, our dogs had a couple of weeks of what I would call ‘active rest’ when compared to their normal routine.
About one week after the most recent deluge, I figured that the trails would be usable again so we drove down to trail head. As we pulled into the parking lot, both dogs noticed where we were and seemed extra excited to be back at the trail. When I opened the door, they both jumped out and we took off like we were shot out of a cannon. The usual slow start of sniffing, and stop and go behavior was nonexistent. Furthermore, we ran as fast or faster for our 3 mile run that I can ever recall for the three of us together!
The Value of Rest in a Fitness Routine
I thought about my dogs’ reaction and our ability to run so well and fast and it occurred to me that there were two main drivers of their behavior, both of which can come in handy for any fitness routine.
First, and most importantly, the dogs were well rested. As a result of being rested, the dogs had lots of energy and their bodies were able to handle the faster pace. Adequate rest is one of the harder concepts for fitness junkies like me to understand, but as my dogs demonstrated, it can actually lead to improved performance. Lesson learned (I hope)!
Secondly, I think that the novelty of being back on the trail, after the forced absence due to the weather, also had an impact on our ability to run so fast. Both of the dogs were so excited and amped to be back at their trail, and that translated to an increased energy and enthusiasm for our run. The lesson here is to make sure that you change up your routine from time to time so that it doesn’t become too much of a ‘routine’ (and boring).
Once again, my canine workout partners have taught me some interesting and practical lessons on fitness. Let’s hope that I am smart enough to use these lessons in the coming weeks and months.
What about you? What is the best fitness tip you have learned (or observed) from your dog’s behaviors?