New year, new you? Exercise with your pets!

If you’re one of the millions of people who indulged just that little too much throughout December, you’ve perhaps already kick-started your new year’s resolution to be healthier in 2016. But what if you also fall into the ‘hate the gym’ category? How can you become fitter, leaner or stronger this year?

The answer lies in exercising with your pets! Not only does research show that if you exercise with your dog, for example, you’re more likely to stick to your fitness programme, it also provides a great way for you to maintain the health of both yourself and your beloved animal.

So here are some of our top tips to exercise with your pets:

  •        Keep it simple – head out for brisk walks. This will lower your blood pressure, strengthen your heart and reduce the risk of depression. Long walks help address behavioural problems in dogs too. Start with shorter, slower walks if you’re new to exercise, and build up from there, using extender leads to limit the initial exertion. It’s worth a quick check up at the vets too if the walking plan represents a significant change for your dog.


  •      If your dog’s breed is suited to distance running, your pooch may also make the perfect jogging partner. Just like a human, they’ll benefit from a five minute warm up and cool down before and after the jogging itself. Try to stick to 30 minute outings (certainly if this is a new regime), stop if your dog is lagging behind and be wary of the temperature when the summer months come – dogs can’t sweat!


  •     There are many other exercises you can do with your dog including swimming, dancing and agility training! But if that’s not your cup of tea, why not head simply to the park with a Frisbee or a football? We stock a selection of dog toys that are perfect for when you pop out for fresh air, and boot and bumper protectors plus dry dog bags if you’ve got to transport your muddy pooch home.


Here are some of our top tips to exercise with your horse:

  •    If you’re a rider, ensure you begin 2016 by establishing a routine. Your horse will benefit from a plan that builds gradually, as sudden peaks in exercise levels may result in pulled or torn muscles. A check of your horse’s general health and shoeing is also advised before any new fitness work begins. And remember, if you’re riding on dark mornings or evenings ensure you both wear reflective clothing.


  •     If your muscles ache excessively after riding, consider Pilates to strengthen your core and ensure you’re not overusing or tightening the wrong muscles. Simple balancing exercises are also great to prevent you from toppling when you mount and dismount. And if you struggle to evenly distribute your weight whilst riding, a raiser pad will keep both you and your horse comfortable.


Just as you would slow down or stop exercising if your body is struggling, please watch for signs of exhaustion in your horses and pets too. Keep them hydrated too and if they begin to pant excessively, or appear weak or confused, stop exercising and seek veterinary care.

Struggling to keep warm when out exercising with your pets? Check out our Jackets & Coats with up to 60% off some items.