Healthspan February 16, 2018

An active lifestyle doesn’t have to involve hours (that feel like days) spent on a treadmill, followed by the same walk that you always do with your dog, or trying to coax a reluctant cat to play.

Thankfully, there are a whole host of fun ways to get your exercise in, which are a whole lot more fun for everyone...

All fun and games

Never forget how to play! Playing is fun, great exercise and helps your pet fulfil their natural instincts while promoting calmness and reducing anxiety.

Dog tag
As per the rules of the childhood favourite, ‘tag’ your dog then let him chase you to ‘tag’ you back.

Cat crinkles
One of the cheapest ways to entertain your cat is with some crumpled paper to scrunch, crinkle and bat around. Just make sure your cat isn’t ripping off any of the paper and eating it.

Dancing dog
Based on obedience training but with more elaborate footwork, a dance with your dog, whether at home or in competition, is a fun way to rack up some steps.

Canine charity race
How about a dog-friendly running event? Dogs are also believed to get ‘runner’s high’ so say hello to happy hormones for both of you!

Your new PT

Just like a Personal Trainer, your pet will never cancel and will always encourage you to do more...

Squat
Stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Squat and tap your dog with his favourite toy. As you rise, lift the toy above your head and encourage your dog to jump for it.

Bathroom ping pong
Make sure there’s nothing your cat can knock over and that your bathtub is clean and dry. Place your cat in the bath and then drop a ping-pong ball… They’ll love chasing it around!

Water-baby

Some dogs are absolute water-babies. If this is true of both you and your pooch, try these watersports ideas.

Stand-up paddle boarding
Always start on a calm day, kneeling rather than standing until you have your balance - although no doubt you’ll both end up in the water at some point! If your dog is not a confident swimmer, always fit them with lifejacket or floatation device, which will also make it easier for you to get them back on the board too.

Kayaking
If you’re a keen kayaker, your dog might be too! Start off by teaching them to get into and out of the kayak on dry land, before progressing to shallow water and then eventually to proper outings on flat, slow-moving water. A small piece of carpet will help give their paws traction and stop them sliding around. Alternatively, your dog can swim alongside you for a more intensive workout.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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