It is difficult enough to keep your human self in moderate fitness during the winter. Holiday baked goods, cold weather, and icy roads are enough to keep us indoors. Besides, what are ugly Christmas sweaters for if not to cover up our New Year muffin tops?
Joking aside, it is important to maintain fitness for both ourselves and our pets during the cold months. Whether you love or revile New Year’s resolutions, make a plan to make sure that you and the fur balls living with you get plenty of exercise.
- Walking – Going on a morning walk is a wonderful way to start the day. You may need to put on some good boots, but nothing is really quite so nice as brisk air on a winter morning. The next best thing is returning to the house after feeling that briskness. Even if you are just going a couple of blocks, it’s keeps the blood pumping. Furthermore, it can keep your dog mentally stimulated. One of my dogs is happy to live his life in my house, but the other one has to know what the neighbors have been up to. She needs her daily sniffs of everyone else’s business and gets very antsy when she doesn’t get her walk. A note of caution: if salt pellets or any de-icing materials have been set out, be sure to wipe your dogs’ paws once you return. Not everyone thinks to use the pet safe options.
- Dog Parks. Many of us consider this a summer option, but most dog parks are open year-round. Your dog will love the chance to run around and sniff other pups. The challenge for you, the human, is to walk as well. Standing or sitting in cold weather can be unpleasant, so get yourself appropriate footwear and walk the perimeter with your dog. She will love the company and it will get you moving as well.
- Backyard Agility Course. If you are lucky enough to have a sizable backyard, consider some very basic agility materials – a log to jump over or some poles to maneuver around. You may need to go out with your dog to teach her to use the obstacles but it can be great fun for both of you.
- Indoor dance party. We can’t use the gym-is-too-full excuse every night. Sometimes just turning on some music and dancing is the best exercise you can do. It’s fun, it lifts your spirits, and it’s in the privacy of your home. And your dog will have fun as well. My dogs love my exercise sessions. They will jump around and often start wrestling. Yes, this will mean that I have to bust out the vacuum when I am finished. I can live with that. If we are all keeping fit and healthy then that’s the important thing.
Winter has already come, and it won’t last forever. Bikini-ready isn’t a phrase we are going to throw around, but physically-fit is. Keeping yourself and your dog up and moving during the winter will make your time more meaningful and help give you all many more days together.