Healthy weight management is an important issue for humans and pets alike. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 59 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Even worse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim that more than 70 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.
The bad news: Obesity is a serious and costly problem that’s only getting worse every year. The good news: It’s completely preventable.
For humans and animals, the number on the scale is greatly impacted by lifestyle factors, and regular exercise can help to keep that number in a healthy range. Here are a few ways to stay active with your pet.
Work your muscles
Pump some iron without the iron by using your own body weight as resistance, and get your dog involved. If your dog loves to play fetch and your abs could use a bit of toning, grab your dog’s toy of choice and lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. As you sit up, throw the toy. Your dog will run after it as you slowly lower your back onto the floor, and he’ll bring it back (hopefully) just in time for you to sit up again and throw it. You can do the same with squats: As you lower into a squatting position, you can raise the toy over your head, prompting your dog to jump for it.
Take a new path
Ever get tired of your dog walking routine? Change up that routine in an interesting way: Instead of walking your dog, let your dog walk you. You might enjoy letting your pup lead the way through uncharted territory.
The experts say that interval training is great for the heart, and the same is true for pets. Head out for a walk with your dog, but instead of just walking, increase both of your heartrates by mixing in some different, more intense movements, like jogging, shuffling sideways, and running backward.
Involve the kitty
Use tools like flashlights and lasers to entice your feline friend to move while you move, too. You can do sit-ups while you waive small flashlights or laser pointers at the wall, jump rope without the rope and put flashlights in your hands, or tie a catnip toy to your dumbbells while you do bicep curls or tricep extensions.