What Dogs Can Teach Us About Staying Fit

15 May

This isn’t going to be about advising you to get a dog so that you’ll get more exercise by walking her/him. While dogs can make great workout partners, it’s not a reason to get a dog in and of itself.  But I did figure I needed to explain why I have a photo of two of my dogs on the top of this page and my FaceBook page.

Figuring out how to decorate this page has been difficult. While photos of weights or people lifting them or people running might excite me it doesn’t excite everyone. One of my primary goals as a personal trainer is to find ways that makes exercise exciting for everyone, regardless of what they might find interesting. While I might like the “old standbys” of fitness, not everyone does and for those who don’t seeing them doesn’t really create an interest in doing anything. I don’t want to give the message that because I like running and lifting weights that it’s all I offer. I want to help each client find the things that they enjoy doing, that they’ll stick to or come back to as they run through the variety of things they might enjoy.

So I figured I’d use a photo of my dogs just enjoying themselves.

And this is precisely what we can learn from dogs about fitness. That it should be about fun. These two up top are Gleann and Sachairi and they are two of the fittest individuals I know. Sach, the littler one who has the toy, is also 12 now (11 in these photos, but still as active nearly a year later). They need their runs at least a couple of times a day, feeling anxious and getting obnoxious if they don’t get them. They run with abandon, whether it’s through the woods exploring or in the field chasing toys (actually Gleann more chases Sach chasing the toy).


Our other two dogs, Cù and Òrlaith, are Greyhounds, they are more relaxed. They are happier to just snooze the day away, but they do need at least one good long walk a day (right now we don’t have a fence up and, being Greyhounds, they have no real call back so they’re not let off leash). They find these walks highly entertaining, the world is quite exciting and full of bunnies even if they can’t chase them (actual real bunnies, which they smell far more than they see, our area is full of hares).

Dogs exercise because it’s fun, because they find great joy in running and playing. They don’t worry what they look like. They aren’t concentrating on their health. They do it because they’re instincts calls for it. They do it for the shear joy of being alive.

We all need to remember this. This is what exercise should be. Play. Fun. We need to find the ways we can make our bodies move that move us in spirit as well, that are fun for us, that are play. That give us shear joy in being alive.

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