Seven Fitness Habits of Fit People and Fit Dogs

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I often wonder why some people are able to stick with an exercise program more easily than others. After all, the many amazing benefits from regular exercise are available to any person or any dog for that matter, that incorporates fitness into their daily routine. I suppose that, as in most things in life that require ‘work’, it is hard to build a consistent fitness habit and very easy to break this habit. The end result is a human and canine obesity epidemic that costs lives and money.

 

Having been involved with fitness for over 30 years, I have noticed some recurring patterns and behaviors to which fit people often adhere. When I say fit people, I am not necessarily talking about fitness junkies and high level athletes, but rather everyday folks who have incorporated fitness into their lifestyles. These behaviors provide some excellent ideas to anyone who is looking to improve the consistency and effectiveness of their own and their dog’s fitness programs.

 

Taking a page from the book 7 Habits of Effective People, I have identified 7 habits of Fit People, any one of which can increase the chances of making fitness a part of the daily routine. Each of these habits are worth trying out and they all apply to both a human’s and a dog’s exercise routines. Workout smarter and more consistently by forming these habits and take you and your dog’s fitness to a new level.

Morning Time

  1. Workout in the morning with your dog when possible, before distractions get in the way.
  2. Mix in high intensity training, for both you and your dog, at least once per week, to improve calorie burning at rest and to improve endurance.
  3. Schedule workouts on calendar as if they are important meetings that can’t be cancelled. Which they are.
  4. Break apart workouts in to smaller parts to better fit into busy schedules. For example, if you don’t have an hour to spare, workout with your dog for 30 minutes twice a day.
  5. Mix in strength, cardio (endurance), and stretching and mobility training to ensure a well-rounded and functional outcome. Each one of these modalities are available to both you and your dog if you know how.
  6. Build a strong core through targeted and intelligent core training to improve athletic performance and reduce injury risk. You might develop a six or eight pack. Your dog will develop a more functional body.
  7. Have one or two “go to”, quick workouts that you can use when time is short. These should last 15 minutes or less and be difficult enough to get your heart rate up.

 

In the coming weeks, I will write about each of these fitness habits in detail, offering practical ways to make them stick. Remember that both you and your dog will benefit if you learn to be more consistent and smarter about your workouts.

 

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27 Comments

  1. Humans (and dogs!) are definitely creatures of habit, so creating healthy habits is the way to go! I am definitely most active in the mornings ~ several years ago I changed my lifestyle from not exercising enough and lost 20 lbs.

    I made sure to get 7 hours of sleep every night, so that I could get up extra early every morning in order to be able to work out at the gym for an hour before going to work. Now that I’m a proud doggy owner, I no longer need the gym ~ I have the best exercise buddies in K9 form who get me going every morning 🙂
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…How to transform any dog into a polite dog, in 10 easy steps #trainyourdogmonthMy Profile

  2. Hi Y’all!

    My Human is sloppy about scheduling stuff other than business. She depends on me to be her alarm for everything from waking her in the morning to taking me for my last walk before bedtime. Unless she’s out on a business appointment, I keep her on a schedule she can’t get with a calendar!

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Flashbacks to Fun!My Profile

  3. we are not good with making plans… but I agree it makes much more sense to make it to a habit instead to do something just because the weather is fine and you feel like it :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog 40 Winks FOR…My Profile

  4. Great list! We are firm believers in the early morning workout. It really gets your day off to a good start, gets your body all ready to go and working hard for the day! I can’t imagine waking up and not working out with Mom.
    Emma recently posted…Preparing For A Tracking Dog (TD) TestMy Profile

  5. Great list you have made for us and our dogs. We need to get on these!
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…How To Stay Fit In Cold Temps~Fitdog FridayMy Profile

  6. Wonderful tips, as always!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Flashback moments – The love of a huskyMy Profile

  7. Forming a habit/schedule helps in more ways then one. The pups know when it’s time to relax and when it’s time to let loose.

  8. I am one of those weird people who love to exercise so it’s never been a stretch for me to get in my daily allotment. But I do believe getting it done first thing ensures that it happens. Plus exercising your dog early in the day *should* give you a calmer dog for your work day. Being somewhat introverted exercise is also my “alone” time, another important thing for me. I have a very sedentary job so I try to work in extra activity where I can. A walk at lunch time, climbing the stairs to my 9th floor cube, the gym at my office when I can. It all adds up, but nothing counteracts a 10 hour commute/job completely.
    Taryn recently posted…Number 9, Number 9, Number 9, Number 9, Number 9, Number 9My Profile

  9. We usually walk mid-morning. The neighborhood kids are at school and most humans are at work. No distractions other than squirrels and amazing smells. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…It’s BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Nomination TimeMy Profile

  10. Great list! I find scheduling workouts really helps. I started taking the classes at my local gym and deciding each week which ones I want to attend. That helps keep me on schedule. It also helps to mix up the different types of workouts — helps keep me from getting bored as well as working out different parts! For Rocco our weekly classes and daily training keeps him in shape!
    Diane recently posted…Canine Beach in Dog Friendly Fort Lauderdale and Beach Safety for DogsMy Profile

  11. Great advice!

    Unfortunately, I (Kevin) have gotten out of a regular exercise routine as of late. Thankfully, walking and playing with the dogs at least keeps me somewhat active!

    I agree that exercise can be a tough habit to get into and an easy one to fall out of! Time always seems to get in the way! It really needs to be scheduled in like you said.

    I look forward to reading about the various types of workouts you listed. If I can incorporate them with the dogs I know I will be much more likely to stick with it!
    MyDogLikes recently posted…Chuckit ZipflightMy Profile

  12. I need to try working out in the morning more. I’m a night owl so mornings are not easy for me.

  13. Sticking to a fitness routine is only difficult before it becomes a habit. It’s so weird but once it’s part of your daily routine you don’t even have to think about it – it just gets done. Looking forward to the rest of these posts, especially the morning fitness one. That’s one area where I’m really slacking.
    Jen Gabbard recently posted…33 Easy Ways to Keep Your Dog Busy IndoorsMy Profile

  14. These are great tips! We think we\’d do much better if we took Tip #1 and started first thing in the morning! We\’ve gotten good at incorporating (some) mid-day walks, and a family evening walk, but Mom is hoping to take up running (for realz) this year, and she\’s thinking it\’s gotta be in the AM!
    Kaitlin-SheSpeaksBark recently posted…Comment on {Black and White Sunday} Camping Comfortably by M. K. ClintonMy Profile

  15. I need to be better about stretching. I am pretty fit, but so inflexible.
    Rebekah recently posted…Black & White SundayMy Profile

  16. Great tips for starting off a new year with some new healthy habits. I’m not one for scheduling workouts or walks, mostly because I like to keep it interesting and fun and I get bored being held to a strict schedule. Having a schedule does work well though for a lot of people.
    Elaine recently posted…Do Dogs Barter? – Trading Toys for TreatsMy Profile

    • As long as you fit the exercise in it doesn’t matter.
      mkob recently posted…Tino & the RabbitsMy Profile

  17. Great advice. I so need a regiment – if I detour just once, I’m doomed. My problem now to trying to increase the distance each morning while Harley and I are on our walks because it is so freaking cold. But I am determined to overcome.

  18. I have a pretty good routine – but it doesn’t necessarily follow this list. Blueberry and I both like to sleep in on weekends and early morning hikes are only on the schedule in the summer. During the work week, we only hike in the early evening which we both prefer. In the winter, we sleep in and go hiking after breakfast, sometimes after I’ve already run my errands. As far as increasing the intensity of our “workouts” – that really depends on the weather and how we are both feeling. Usually it naturally occurs at least once a week – but not because I plan it. Sometimes, because of some kidney pain – I don’t always even feel like hiking, but we go anyway, just at a slower pace. I think it helps me to think about the fact that Blueberry is at the house all day and while I may get to run errands or go to work – without our short or long hikes – she’d never get out of the house – which isn’t fun for her. About the only thing I consistently plan is a different trail to hike each day so we don’t get bored. Otherwise, I’m not as disciplined to do everything on this list as a lot of people like you are. 🙂
    Blueberry’s human recently posted…Pick PocketMy Profile

  19. For me, the big one is to do the workout in the morning, right away. I really like the idea of a nice workout in the afternoon, but I just can’t seem to do it. Plus, getting the workout in right away makes me feel productive right away, which is a good way to start the day.
    Lindsay recently posted…Correcting incorrect stereotypes about pitbulls – the Majority ProjectMy Profile

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