Did you know that dogs can teach you health and fitness lessons?
Do you have a dog? We have two dogs in our family, and they are pretty spoiled too. When I get up in the morning and come out of our bedroom, the dogs immediately start barking because they know it is time to get up and get the day started. They are always happy to see me, and they often meet me with a smile. I know what you are probably thinking, what does dog’s have to do with fitness? Well if you have ever taken a close look at your dog’s life, dogs weren’t born to lay on the couch all day long or to lead a sedentary lifestyle. They were made to move and enjoy life. Today, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite lessons about fitness that I have learned from my dog’s.
Don’t Waste the Day Sleeping
My dogs are always excited to see me first thing in the morning and get their day started. They are usually ready to go outside, and they are anxiously awaiting for someone to get up so that they can go outside. Some mornings, I struggle with getting up right when my alarm goes off, and it is always harder in the winter time when it is cold outside. However, your dog usually has to go outside first thing in the morning so that they don’t have an accident in the house. Plus, they don’t want to waste their entire day sleeping because they might miss something. Once my dogs have come back inside, they are ready and eager to start their day. During the week, they love going with me to drop my son off at school, and they also go with me to pick him up. They typically follow me around until it is time to “go.”
Get Your Exercise
Your dog is always up for a game of fetch or tug of war. It is super important to ensure that your dog gets enough exercise. As I mentioned already, your dog is made to move. Most dogs in early days often had a particular job to do such as herding cattle, chasing mice away, sniffing out bombs in World War 1, helping police officers, searching for drugs, and even helping disabled people with simple tasks around the house.
You don’t have to do strenuous exercise for it to be beneficial. Walking for 30 minutes a day can vastly improve your health. Just like your dog, your children need to get outside and play more. Most children don’t get enough exercise, and they are glued to a screen which will significantly impact their lives in the long run. It makes me sad to see that play is disappearing at home, in school, and in communities. 70% of moms played outside when they were kids, 31% of their kids play outside today.
Choose Healthy Snacks
Most of the commercial dog treats are filled with junk, and they aren’t healthy for your dog. I am guilty of feeding my dog’s unhealthy treats. It is better to skip the treats altogether or make your own dog treats with things that you already have in your kitchen. Dogs do have special dietary needs so make sure that when you are making your dog treats that you choose the right ingredients to ensure that your dog doesn’t get sick. Your dog relies on you to make sure that they are getting a healthy diet.
Your children also rely on you to ensure that they are getting healthy, nutritious meals and snacks. That is why I choose snacks such as fruit, nuts, vegetables, yogurt, and CLIF Kid Zbar®. I prefer Clif Kid Zbar®s because they are made with organic ingredients, non-GMO, have essential nutrients for active kids, appropriate portion size for kids in flavors that they love (I loved them too), and they aren’t made with high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors.
Yoga or Stretching is Good for Your Body
Have you ever noticed your dog stretching? Dogs typically stretch when they get up after laying down for a while. A few of the familiar yoga poses are even named after poses that your dog performs. For example, the downward facing dog or the upward facing dog pose is great for back pain. Stretching helps relieve tight muscles, and it is an excellent way to unwind at the end of the day.
Go Outside and Play
Our dogs always enjoy going outside to play. Just like them, I love to go outside when it isn’t too hot or cold outside. It always feels good to bask in the sun and enjoy the fresh air. A few weeks ago, we took our dogs to the dog park for the very first time. They loved it. It was a new place to play and enjoy life even though we have a backyard for them to play in.
Even if your children enjoy playing outside in your neighborhood or yard, they often like going to new places to play too. I realize that, during the week, life is hectic but I want to challenge you to take your children to ‘fun places of play’ this weekend. Don’t forget to take a soccer ball, football, or their favorite sports gear. You can also play some fun games too like freeze tag, capture the flag, or other game at your favorite places of play.
Rest When Needed
Dogs are somewhat lazy during the day and tend to sleep unless they stimulated with their favorite activity. Of course, they know when to rest and when to play. If you need to rest, be sure to take the time that you need but don’t rest too long or you could potentially mess up your sleep schedule. Do you get enough sleep? What about your children?
Let It Go
A dog always handles life’s curveballs very well. They don’t hold grudges, and they don’t stay mad or upset for very long. Stress is often considered a silent killer and it can be harmful to your health. There are a ton of ways for you to handle excessive stress. I am not great at this, but it is better to let things go rather than hold on to them.
Get a Full Nights Rest
They seem to always know when it is time to wind down for the day and get a full nights sleep. My dogs are very particular about their schedule too. My older dog often doesn’t go to bed until my husband is ready. She will often try to tell him that it is time to go to sleep if he is up working a bit later than normal in his office. It is so cute to watch her pace at bedtime.
My dogs are spoiled rotten, and they are always up for a surprise trip to their favorite places of play just like my children do. Most dogs live a relatively sedentary lifestyle similar to our kids growing up in today’s culture. With schools cutting down on time to play and exercise, children aren’t allowed to burn off their excessive energy in a constructive way or get the recommended amount of exercise on a regular basis. Were you surprised that dogs can teach you health and fitness lessons?
I teamed up with CLIF Kid Zbar® because I know that it is super important for children to get enough exercise and have the chance to play outside. I remember spending ample amounts of time playing outside. I used to run up and down the block, ride my bike up and down the street, and play with my friends. I get it that things are a bit different today and children can’t go outside to play unless an adult is out there to watch them because parents are afraid that their child will be kidnapped. It is a sad reality, but it’s true. 🙁 I do allow my boys to go outside and play in the backyard by themselves. I can open the blinds, and I can keep an eye on them while they play. Check out this Clif Kid video: here.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.