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Walking the Dog: Tips, Tricks and Treats

May 10, 2010

Some days, it’s pretty much impossible to find the time to workout. Between work, family and social obligations, it often takes a lot of energy and effort just to find time for exercise – and that’s before the workout even begins!

One of the top three reasons people don’t work out is because they believe that they don’t have the time. And even when a person is willing to find the time, the stress of finding a way to fit it into a packed schedule can present additional opportunities to discourage him or her from working out.

We say, don’t let your busy schedule dissuade you from exercise!

Easier said than done, right?

The trick to getting in a good workout without focusing your time and energy into determining when you can find the time for it is to find a way to incorporate fitness into your habitual routine. If you’re not a morning person, don’t schedule your workout for 5 a.m. – doing so will only give you a negative image of exercise and make it that much more difficult to maintain a workout routine. Find a way to include exercise into something you already have to do every day.

Now that it’s springtime, for example, you can ditch driving as much as possible and walk instead! Errands, your commute to work, grocery shopping, visiting friends – if any of these activities are within walking distance, do it!

Another daily excuse to workout: your pet!

I have two confessions. It wasn’t until meeting my boyfriend that:

  1. I exercised daily
  2. I genuinely loved a dog

walking hank

Now that I am well-acquainted with Hank, my boyfriend’s two-year-old labradoodle, we bond through a variety of activities, including one of my personal favorites: walking him every day, everywhere.

Walking your dog is the perfect way to knock out three big exercise blockades at once. It’s good for your dog, it’s good for you and it’s an opportunity to spend quality time with one of your best friends.

If you have to walk your dog anyway, you might as well pick up the pace and get some quality exercise out of it. Below are six tips, tricks and treats to getting the most out of walking your dog.

  1. Don’t assume you have to run with the wolves. Walking is a great method of exercise and there’s no need to push yourself and your dog to run if you both prefer to walk. There are several health benefits to walking, so take a brisk stroll with your pup, and enjoy the quality time with your companion.
  2. Bring water. Bring water bottles for yourself and your pooch. It is important to stay hydrated, especially when you are both walking long distances in the heat.
  3. Dovetail your routes and errands. After-work errands? Instead of making your afternoon all about checking off your to-dos, find ways to work your errands into a walking route. You would be surprised how many places are dog-friendly. Many dry cleaners, hardware stores, boutiques, clothing stores and specialty stores are more than happy to accommodate your dog. Also, outdoor grocery markets and farmers markets are a great place to grocery shop with your dog.
  4. Make friends with small talk – but keep it short. As I’m sure most dog owners know, the sight of a cute pooch often sparks conversation. As you walk, you will notice how many people – and other dogs – want to get to know you and your pooch. Say hello and enjoy the interactions, but don’t let it distract you from your workout. Keep moving. You don’t want to spend the time you have set aside to walk schmoozing. Break a sweat!
  5. Wear the right gear. Dress your doggy in a pinch collar or harness, depending on what your pup prefers and is most helpful when walking for the two of you. You should wear comfortable clothes and supportive sneakers. Always have some cash on hand in case you decide to run an errand or if you and your pup need a snack/drink. If you have a small bag, you can wear it across your body as the perfect way to carry keys and money hands-free. Your hands will be occupied with your dog’s leash. You can even bring treats in your bag if you have room and want to reward your dog’s good behavior.
  6. Invite others. Although I definitely know the value and fun in getting in some quality alone time with your pooch, every walk doesn’t have to be a date. Bring friends, family members, your significant other – sometimes it’s nice to have someone who can talk back. And if you’re up for it, maybe you and your pooch can go on a double date!
hank in store

Hank and my boyfriend Brandon at lululemon, an athletic store that is dog-friendly.

Among all of the other important things Hank is to me, he is also my favorite and best walking partner.

No need for doggy days cooped inside without exercise! Get out there and take your pooch with you!

***

We’d love to hear your fresh perspective!

  • Do you have a pet who keeps you active? If so, what are your favorite activities?
  • Where is your favorite place to walk with your pup?
  • If you don’t have a pet, what are your tips for incorporating fitness into your daily routine?

Bonne chance!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. brendajos permalink
    May 10, 2010 5:50 pm

    I have actually found that my favorite walks are those that I take with my dog too. She is pretty little, she is a chiweenie, so we can’t go too much more than three miles. We have great trails around my house that she loves to explore. 🙂

    I also have made a conscious decision to take my lunch time. For years I have eaten my lunch at my desk. I am now much better about taking that time and going for a walk. We have a great tunnel system under our building that has been measured out for mileage. We also have some really nice trails in the neighborhood next door when the weather is nice.

    50 pounds gone so far. It must be working! 😉

    • May 15, 2010 9:16 pm

      Brenda ~ That’s a great story! Thanks for the great tips 🙂 It definitely sounds like you are onto something!

  2. sue permalink
    May 10, 2010 6:09 pm

    Love that you guys understand just how special AND healthy walking a dog can be!!! Good ideas!!! Can I find your product at Kroger? THANKS Flatout!

  3. cathy permalink
    May 10, 2010 10:57 pm

    Flatoutfresh, I’m always checking the site to see what you’re going to post…
    Love everything about Flatoutfresh and this was another great posting on healthy tricks
    tips treats! Plus……. I can now put a face to flatoutfresh… love your products!

    • May 15, 2010 9:18 pm

      Cathy ~ So great to hear from you! We’re glad you’re a fan and have been enjoying the posts!

  4. Illana Greenberg permalink
    May 14, 2010 12:38 am

    Hank is cute. I like Flatouts with turkey and honey mustard.

    • May 15, 2010 9:18 pm

      Illana ~ We like Hank around here, too 🙂 Turkey and honey mustard sounds like a winning combination!

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