It’s spring, one of the best times in central Florida to be outside. It’s also a great time to take your exercise regimen outdoors.
Since the weather has not yet turned hot and humid, why not consider including your dog in your outdoor exercise activities? And if you’re not exercising, this is a perfect time to start!
Something as simple as a brisk walk is beneficial to both of you. If one of you isn’t used to exercise, remember to start slowly and work up to a faster pace or a longer distance. As you both get stronger, increase your distance and perhaps your speed. Consider your dog’s age, breed and physical condition in determining how much to exercise. And if there’s any question, always consult with your veterinarian.
Since the weather is so nice this time of year, why not try new activities or new locations to spend quality time with your dog?
As long as your walk with your dog isn’t a “stopping to sniff every blade of grass or every bush” type of walk, a brisk walk in your neighborhood can be great exercise. But for a new experience and change of scenery, consider a walk around beautiful Lake Eola. Also look at walks around Lake Baldwin in Baldwin Park, Mead Gardens, the West Orange Trail or parts of the Cady Way Trail.
This is a great form of exercise if you like jogging and your dog can keep up with you. One thing you might want to consider for both of you is to do intervals, where you jog for say 30 seconds and then walk for 2 to 3 minutes. Known as interval training this is a good way to build cardiovascular strength in both of you.
There are a number of parks and trails in central Florida that allow leashed dogs. Hiking is a great way for both of you to experience new sights, give both of you exercise, and give your dog mental stimulation.
Going for a bike ride is better exercise for your dog than for you but if you have a high energy dog that requires a lot of exercise, this is a great way to burn your dog’s energy. It’s best to have a bike with an attachment that secures your dog’s leash so you or your dog won’t get injured because you’re holding on to his leash. There are several good leash bike attachments on the market, so do your research.
Greenwood Urban Wetlands off Mills Ave south of downtown offers good trails and an agility course that consists of jump walls, steps, weave poles and ramps.
If you want to get serious about monitoring your exercise progress, consider purchasing an activity tracker for both you and your dog. That way, you’ll be able to see how many steps and how much activity you both have logged on any given day. Record your progress so you can see how you both have improved!
No matter what you do, make sure you’re watching your dog for any signs that he might be overheated or dehydrated, and make sure you have access to fresh water for both of you.
Just like humans, dogs need exercise to stay healthy and happy. Often they don’t get the exercise they need. Since this is the perfect time of the year, I encourage you to spend more time outdoors exercising with your dog. You both will reap the benefit!