Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Employee Health Tip: Get Fit by Running or Walking with Your Dog

Employee Health Can Increase With Pets HealthAs employee waistlines expand, so do their pets. The good news is that man’s best friend can be just the motivation and camaraderie your employees need to jump-start a fitness routine that can benefit both.

According to a 2004 study by the Wellness Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, dogs and their owners lose weight and stay trim by dieting and exercising together. A few key preparation steps will have your employees walking and jogging with their four-legged friend in no time:

Help Your Employees Prepare for Fitness by Preparing Their "Paws"

Encourage employees to visit a running/walking specialty footwear store for proper shoes and socks. Everyone has a different gait, so it is important to purchase the right shoes. A pooch's paws are just as important. Some surfaces such as gravel, rock, and even concrete can be hard on a dog's paws. Check your dog's footpads when you return from your workout and adjust your runs accordingly.

Get Employees and Pets to Gear Up Appropriately for Outdoor Exercise

Instruct employes to wear running-specific clothing that wicks moisture away from the body and fits comfortably. For their furry pal, use a body harness and run-specific leash. This will help the dog’s comfort level during the workout and help him associate the leash and harness with serious running, not stopping to smell the roses. Both dogs and their owners should have water readily available, as well as reflective clothing or a blinking dog tag.

Share the Benefits of Starting Slow and Establishing a Routine

Employees should start off slow and warm up prior to their workout. This will prepare them and their dog's muscles for the upcoming workout and reduce the risk of injury. When walking or jogging, they should start with a slow and steady pace. If either one shows any changes in gait, slow down or end the workout. It may mean they're going too fast or too far for their current fitness level. Employees should also keep the age and breed of their dog in mind when determining the pace and distance for their run. They should always keep their dog at their side to avoid dangerous falls.

Dogs thrive on routine and so do humans. So use the opportunity to encourage employee health by teaching the importance of building a routine. Employess should keep their workouts three to five days per week. Not only will this give them a slimmer waistline and improve your corporations financial waistline, too, but they’ll gain some bonding-time with their pet.

Topics: healthy workforce overweight employees motivation exercise at home