(Health) There are so many reasons why exercising with your dog is a great idea. Unlike your BFF, a dog won't bail an hour before your running date. Also: "Studies show exercising with pets helps owners increase their cardiovascular health, improve their mental health, lose weight, and relieve stress," says Justine Lee, DVM, a veterinary emergency care specialist in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here are three ways to sweat with your pup, plus helpful tips for every activity:

Fetch 2.0
Bump up the intensity by doing your own exercises every time your pup runs after the ball. A quick series of squats, push-ups, or lunges will get you sweaty while your pet gets her heart rate up.

Paddle Away
Stand-up paddle boarding sounds tough to pull off with animals, but the sport is actually ideal for dogs who enjoy the water. "Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for dogs, especially those with orthopedic issues," says Diarra Blue, DVM, a veterinarian on Animal Planet's Vet Life. "It offers low impact resistance, so it's safe for joints and good for the cardiovascular system too." Since an hour of swimming is too long for most breeds, stand-up paddle boarding can be a smarter choice. "This lets dogs swim alongside you and jump on your paddle board whenever they need a rest," explains Jt Clough, a Maui-based dog trainer. Dogs that need more help getting into the swim of things can also benefit by wearing a canine life vest.

Take a Hike
A study published in the journal BMC Public Health found that dog owners walk 22 more minutes a day compared with folks who don't have a dog. That may not sound like a lot, but it could help you burn another 100 calories a day.

Like Fitbit, but for dogs
Did you know dogs can use activity trackers too? One option: The FitBark 2 dog activity and sleep monitor $70 at It sends pet owners health insights to help them track their pup's mobility. Even more adoggable, you can link the FitBark2 with your own tracker and view your progress side by side. Don't be surprised if your dog becomes your biggest motivator.


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