I’m one of those people who exercise. Yep, I walk, I do yoga and the other day I woke up in an ever-so-slightly crabby mood. Which was a little unusual; I’m normally a fairly perky guy. My overall moods are stable and my general outlook on life is positive. But I also allow for those occasional days where you’re not exactly functioning at peak. I decided to go for a walk knowing that when it was over my biochemistry would be elevated with endorphins and sure enough, I was correct.

In fact, although it kind of dates me, I’ve been exercising for so long, I remember that people used to stop me while I was running along the side of the road and ask me if “I needed a ride or if my car was broken down”. (Laughs)

So on my way to work in my, NOW, post-exercise good mood my brain shifted to thinking about all the people that DON”T know that exercise is the best way to shift your mood, change your blood chemistry and improve your overall health. I used to own a personal training company and I have told people for years about the benefits of regular exercise, but I wonder how many people would even think to include their pet(s) into their regular exercise program.

Animals need exercise just as much as humans do and just as often; to maintain their weight, their energy levels and nobody even talks about mood or well-being. If you think about the average pet owner, they may walk their dog occasionally, but what is more than likely is, that they let the animal out a couple of times per day to go potty and then let them back in the house. This routine is usually organized around them going to and returning home, from work and generally pets aren’t included into their workout routine, if they have one at all. The average pet, like most Americans, leads a mostly sedentary life. Perhaps we could change this?

When I was a kid we had hunting dogs and we would take them out to an unpopulated area and let them run until their tongues were almost dragging the ground and that was about once a week. I now know that that isn’t a very safe way to condition your dogs, if fact it’s pretty dangerous, so pay attention “weekend warriors” and those of you who go run 5 miles once every 3 years.

My #1 tip for outdoor exercise is you can forget about the weather EVER being perfect. Living in the wilds of North Texas (Frisco) I can tell you that there are only a couple of months per year where the weather here is “perfect”. It generally it too hot (8 mos.) or too cold (2 mos.) and if you include too wet, or raining you get about 3 to 6 weeks of weather that might be described as “perfect” pet walking or exercising outside weather. And I’m sure that there are lots of other places that have similar weather or different combinations that create similar problems for exercising out-of-doors.

The trick to this is to plan your exercise routine with regard to the weather. In the winter I’m the afternoon exercise guy in the summer it has to be early morning or it’s just too hot, if it rains I wear raingear. Sound pretty simple.

Tip #2 would be, to consider that if your pet has been sedentary for a while (6 to 10 weeks) that you start slowly. I would start them off with a little warm-up walk just like anyone else who doesn’t workout regularly, 5 to 12 minutes and walking about every other day. With older dogs or very over-weight dogs consider that it may take while for their connective tissue to catch up with their muscles. This could be good advice to you as well if you’ve been sitting around all winter.

You may not know this but most humans if they are going to get injured during exercise it’s usually in the first 2 to 6 mos. Since their muscles get “in-shape” quickly and it can take up to a year for their connective tissue to become ‘conditioned”, it’s always better to go slow and take longer than rush it and risk injury.

Tip #3 is, I would also like to mention WATER. Water is a primary need for both animals and humans, so be sure to bring your pet(s) some water to drink. Hey you’d probably bring water for a human exercise partner; your pet is no different. Dehydration is a dangerous thing; humans and animals are equally susceptible

I’ll wind this up with a single thought. If you are looking for an exercise partner that will never quit, complain or skip out on you because they have a work deadline. Give your pet an opportunity to fill this role.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Harris, PhD is Clinical Hypnotherapist, Fitness, Life and Business Coach
Read more about relationship coaching or email (drm@drmichaelharris.com) for more information. Click here to receive a FREE Audio book (http://forms.aweber.com/form/77/1458709877.htm), “The Science of Getting Rich” by William Waddles