Well, here are 5 tips to put some oomph back into your walks with your pup.
1. Bored with the scenery? Drive to a different 'hood!
I used to do this in our old neighborhood, which was kind of isolated so I'd get really bored walking the same loop over and over and over and over. Some days I'd drive to another neighborhood, even just a short ways away, and then we'd have someplace new to explore. New smells for the pup, new houses to check out for you.
2. Use the time wisely
|Our sniffy angel on a hike|
When I do, I use that time to stretch my caves on the curb, or pull my foot up behind me to stretch my quad. The bonus with that is that standing on one foot is great for making sure you maintain good balance. (I read an interesting article in the paper the other day about older folks and balance. It said the time to work on your balance so you don't end up being afraid of falling is in your 30s and 40s. If you're already beyond that, it's not too late - try balancing on one foot while your pup sniffs, then the other. Do it near a pole or mailbox so you have something to grab if you need to.)
|Rita: "I'll just roll in the grass here while you stretch."|
3. Listen to music
|Abby: "Which way to the Iditarod?"|
However, I only recommend this if you have a safe neighborhood with sidewalks and a non-reactive dog.
I can't listen to music anymore, because for one thing, I need to listen for things that Rita will take exception to (barking dogs, loud scooters, gardeners, etc.). I also need to listen for drivers cuz in our 'hood most of the streets, unfortunately, don't have sidewalks. And it's a statistical fact* that one third of those drivers are self important ass-hats who think that text won't wait!
4. Practice intervals
Spice up your walk and turn it into a great workout by throwing in some intervals. Try walking fast (or jogging) for one minute out of every five. You can increase the intervals as you get more fit. Or if you don't want to bother timing yourself, just set a visual goal. "We're going to hot-foot it to that light post!"
When it's really hot (I know, I know - most of you would kill for some hot weather about now... try to remember this for the summer) we walk fast in the sun and then slow down and mosey along when we hit shady areas. (Our beagle was great for that. She loved to walk slow in the shade.)
5. Get a pedometer
This is my favorite tip and has really made a difference for me. I used to walk Rita ~45 - 60 minutes every morning. I felt like that was a good length for a walk, and - before getting a pedometer - I figured that would easily get me up to the 10,000 steps recommended per day. I used to get lazy most mornings and end up leaning toward a 45 min walk route, but I still felt like that was pretty good.
Well, once I downloaded the Accupedo app on my phone (probably not as accurate as a "real" pedometer, but works well enough for me), I realized I pretty much always walk at a 1000 steps/10 min. pace. So, yep... if you did the math on that one, a 45 min. walk = ~4500 steps. Not even half of the day's goal!
Since I have a sedentary job as a writer, I like to meet that 10K/day goal as often as I can, so the Accupedo has helped get me into the groove of walking longer with Rita. Now I check my steps as we are getting closer to home. I try to get 6-7K steps in on our walk, because I know I can make up the rest running errands or straightening up the house. If I'm a little short, we'll add another side street on to our walk.
|"Come on, Momma. Get the lead out!"|
* I know it's a statistical fact because I sometimes count drivers who are on/not on their phones as they go by. This is also another way you can pass the time while out on your walk... So, I guess I should have titled this "6 Ways to..."
I know a lot of you are still deep in winter weather - here's to good walking weather for everyone soon!
Thanks to SlimDoggy, Peggy's Pet Place and To Dog with Love for hosting FitDog Friday!
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