The Best Time to Work Out with your Dog

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Exercising your dog consistently is one of the keys (along with diet) to keeping them fit and healthy.  Heck, consistent exercise and proper diet is the key to your own health and fitness as well.  One of the behaviors that I have noticed over the years when it comes to fitness is a “start then stop” mentality.


The “start then stop” exerciser will begin a fitness program with great zeal but the enthusiasm quickly wanes until, after a few weeks, the exercise routine is all but abandoned. In my opinion, one of the ways to combat this is to schedule the workouts early in the morning, so that exercise is completed before life’s daily distractions can potentially get in the way of a consistent regimen.
Best time of day

This concept is important when it comes to your dog’s fitness as well, because if you are not consistent with your dog’s exercise, they will also fall victim to the stop-start model and they will very likely be under exercised (and probably over fed).  Further, many pet parents get a majority of their own exercise when they exercise their dogs.


When is the Best Time to Work Out with your Dog?

To answer this question, I found a study done last year by the fitness wearable technology company Jawbone.  Jawbone analyzed data on over 1 million people using their technology to find out (among other things) which times of day were associated with consistent exercise habits.  The results of this study were no surprise to me as they are consistent with the anecdotal evidence I have witnessed over the years.


The jawbone study reports that people who exercise early in the morning are more consistent than people who exercise at other times in the day. The study reports that the three best times to work out to achieve consistency (defined as those working out 3 or more times per week), are, in order, 6 AM, 5 AM, and 9 AM.   Conversely, the ‘popular’ time of 6 PM is associated with the most inconsistency in workout patterns.


Another unrelated finding of the study was that the more frequent the person exercised during the week, the better their overall mood was.  Daily exercise was associated with a much better mood: there is a substantial increase in happiness between people who exercise five days or less per week and those who work out six or seven days per week. No doubt the combination of endocannabinoids and the overall feeling of being fit and healthy are mostly responsible for this.


The results of this study certainly apply to our dogs. First of all, it is very likely that dogs who are exercised early in the morning are more likely to get consistent exercise than dogs that are exercised at other times during the day, if for no other reason that their owners are more likely to be consistent in the morning.  Second, the idea that daily (or near daily) exercise will lift a dog’s mood makes complete sense.  Dogs that are exercised regular will have better social skills and confidence and will feel strong and healthy.  In addition, like people, dogs will experience a form of runner’s high euphoria with intense exercise.


In reality, the truly best time to exercise your dog is the time of day that best fits into your schedule.  With that said, scheduling early morning work outs for you and your dog will increase the chances that you will both stick to the exercise program and therefore be more fit and healthier than those who wait until the evening to work up a sweat.

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  1. We totally agree and are proud members of the 6 am club!
    Emma recently posted…Certified To Track And Proud Of ItMy Profile

  2. We agree, too! Anytime we wait until later in the day, too many things can happen to derail our workout time…. unless it’s something like a scheduled agility class. Then, we are there!
    Diane recently posted…The Four Play Styles of DogsMy Profile

  3. I tried for years to make myself a morning person, but I finally came to realize that it just wasn’t going to happen. If the summer weather is really hot, I can force myself out of bed for an early morning workout for Barley, but I do not get that “runner’s high”–on days we’ve worked out in the morning, I find I can’t really accomplish anything until the afternoon and end up taking a long mid-morning nap, which kills productivity for the rest of the day. Barley and I are much better at being consistent and still managing to accomplish work during the day if we save our walks for the evening–there’s nothing that relaxes me more than taking a nice long walk after a long day of grading papers. These are interesting studies, though!
    Beth recently posted…Surprise Snow DayMy Profile

  4. Great information, I too am not a morning person and if I take them for a walk in the morning it seems I need a afternoon nap. I like evening walks.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Monkey See Monkey Do ~Jumps And ClimbsMy Profile

  5. I wish I was a morning person but I just am not. I love playing tennis at 9.00am then swimming at lunch and a walk in the afternoon. I prefer exercising when it is warm. I do tend to go in bursts so I am sure the research is true.
    Talent Hounds recently posted…What is Skijoring?My Profile

  6. Emily sneaks out the door for the gym anytime between 4-6am but the pups and I are still fast asleep at that hour. Fortunately my schedule permits afternoon exercise time. Splitting the day in half with a good workout in the middle seems to work well for both me and the pups.

  7. I have to get moving in the morning because in the evening after work all I want to do is sit and relax. 🙂
    Although I have found that my 7 pm zumba class is late enough in the evening to keep me consistent, mostly cause I love it!!
    But the dogs I tend to exercise in the morning before work – so that they are tired and sleep while we aren’t home, and then again in the afternoon, alternating between easy and hard days just like I would train myself. In the summer when the weather is nicer we go out 3 times a day morning, afternoon, and then before bed.
    DZ Dogs recently posted…Mud Puppies Part 1My Profile

  8. Very interesting!
    Earl Lover recently posted…Exploring New PlacesMy Profile

  9. We try to walk the boys in the morning after people leave for work and school. It is so nice and quiet. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…F’lint Retractable Rollers Mean the End of LintMy Profile

  10. I am not a morning person so mid-day works best for us!

  11. Cocoa and I get out for our run early in the morning. 5am or 7am at the latest. If I am going to be gone for the day I make sure to get up early enough to get our exercise in because it is good for both of us!! We also go for a walk at night or to the puppy park.
    Julie recently posted…Snow DayMy Profile

  12. If I don’t exercise in the morning, it doesn’t happen. The dogs are usually up and raring to go too. I don’t like the early morning cold in the winter though, so often we don’t get outside to play or for walks until later in the morning when it’s a bit warmer. It’s tough to make them wait though! I’ll be glad when spring gets here and we can get back to getting our earlier!
    Jan K recently posted…The Momz Loves Us After All – February Pet Treater (& Giveaway!)My Profile

  13. We couldn’t agree more – early morning exercise is the best way to start our day, every day 😉
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…10 easy ways to puppy-proof your homeMy Profile

  14. Thankfully Sam is the ‘app’ that never stops reminding me to exercise. 😉

  15. It’s definitely a morning thing here for the very reason that you give – otherwise, life can get in the way. But, we do also take an evening walk of about a mile or two – but that’s just a “catch up at the end of the day” walk (family time).

  16. Very good post! We are working on making our workout times even earlier. Ideally I would love to be done by 6 am, but I don’t know if this will happen. I need to take my own advice and just do it! Thanks for another great post!
    Rama’s Mama recently posted…Welcome To WellnessMy Profile

  17. We are night owls here. So, our mornings may be somewhat later than most but we do agree that first thing in the morning is the best time to workout; whatever that time may actually be. 😉
    CEO Olivia
    CEO Olivia recently posted…Silly Dog Sundays ~ Feb. 21st EditionMy Profile

  18. Those of us around the Ranch seem to do super well with the early morning outing; the cool autumn air seems to keep all of us invigorated. 😉

  19. Now that I’ve gone back to work – it’s early in the morning for us!

  20. Morning work outs are best for dogs as it keeps them healthy and also morning workouts are good for joint pains also. I take my dog for 2-3 hours daily for walk in the evening as well as afternoon.

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