15 Min Senior Workout - HASfit Exercise for Elderly - Seniors Exercises for Elderly - Seniors
How to Choose Exercise That Strengthens Senior Dogs
An important part of keeping older dogs healthy is making sure that they are active and strong; however, because of their advanced years, older dogs face a number of challenges that make it hard to ensure their activity and strength. As a result, you need to take a number of steps, such as consulting your vet, considering your dog’s medical condition, and learning about different ways to exercise your dog, in order to find a good routine. In the end, though, you'll learn some good exercises to help strengthen your senior dog.
Talk to your veterinarian.Before beginning any exercise regimen with your dog, you need to consult your veterinarian to see if your dog is healthy enough. Ultimately, your vet will be able to evaluate your dog’s fitness level and make recommendations about steps you can take to strengthen your senior dog.
- Ask your vet if there are any exercises they recommend for your senior dog. They may be able to give you some suggestions you had not thought of.
- Make sure your dog is up to date on their annual or semiannual checkups.
Work with a veterinary physiotherapist.This highly trained professional can assess your dog's condition and suggest exercises to do at home to work on your dog's weaker areas. This is especially beneficial to older dogs as they are more likely to have arthritis or low baseline levels of activity. The physiotherapist will suggest gentle massage routines and passive exercises to warm the dog's joints up prior to the actual exercise. They can suggest fun strategies to build muscular strength, such as wobble boards or stepping poles.
Consult a trainer.After your vet clears your dog for exercise, you may want to consult a trainer about exercises you can do to help strengthen your dog. As specialists, trainers will have good — and safe — ideas for you to bolster your dog’s capabilities.
- Contact a trainer in your community and set up a consultation. You may be able to learn a lot from just one meeting with a trainer.
- If you’ve previously used a trainer for obedience school, feel free to give them a call and ask for advice. Chances are, they’ll be happy to help you.
Ask others who have senior dogs.A good way to gain practical experience about how to strength train senior dogs is to ask your friends who also have older dogs. These people will be able to supply you with a wealth of knowledge that they gained overcoming the challenges that you are now faced with.
- Contact friends who have senior dogs. Consider saying “Could you give me any advice about how you keep your dog strong and happy? Do you use a specific exercise routine?”
- Take your dogs to dog parks and talk to people there. At dog parks, you’ll be able to access an entire community of dog parents.
- Walk your dog around your neighborhood and try to interact with other dog owners. They may have some insights into exercises that strengthen senior dogs.
Plan out your exercise regime.Try to plan your dog's exercise so that they are getting a similar amount each day of the week. Concentrating all their exercise on just two or three days, such as on the weekends, means the dog will be extremely sore in the days following, since their body is not used to the extra exertion. Do your best to keep exercise consistent throughout the week.
Taking Into Account Your Dog’s Condition
Determine if your dog has any skeletal-muscular issues.Before choosing an exercise routine for your senior dog, you need to make sure that they do not have any skeletal-muscular problems that may cause them pain or inhibit them from exercising the way you want them to.
- Pay attention to whether your dog has back or hip problems. Many senior dogs have hip problems that will limit their ability to exercise.
- Look to see if your dog ever drags its legs or has a limp tail. These problems could be indicative of nerve or muscle problems.
- Rely on advice about your dog's skeletal-muscular health your vet has given you.
Find out if your dog has any cardiovascular problems.Make sure your dog does not have any outstanding cardiovascular issues before you begin an exercise routine. Dogs with cardiovascular issues need to be monitored by a doctor and should not engage in heavy exercise.
- Ask your doctor to measure your dog’s heart rate, blood pressure, and listen to their heart.
- Dogs with heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat, should not engage in intense strength exercises.
Think about your dog’s energy level.Your dog’s energy level is also important to consider when choosing exercises. Ultimately, their energy level will determine how much and how often they can exercise.
- If your dog is low energy, you’ll have to reduce your expectations and work harder over a long period of time.
- If your dog is high energy, you may be able to exercise longer and harder.
- Read up on specific breeds and their energy level. A healthy dog’s energy level should correspond with general breed energy levels. For instance, senior Jack Russell terriers have much more energy and are more active than senior St. Bernards.
Doing Specific Exercises
Walk with your dog.The simplest way to strengthen your senior dog is to commit to a regular walking routine. By walking your dog often, you’ll slowly build up their strength. In the end, your dog will benefit from a stronger cardiovascular system.
- Take your dog on several short walks every day.
- Slowly increase the amount of time you walk. For instance, increase the time increments you spend walking by fifteen minutes every week or two.
- Don’t rush your dog at first. Let them walk at their own pace.
- If your dog ever seems tired or needs a rest, allow them to rest. If your dog doesn’t want to continue on, head home.
- Locate an area with hills to provide more of a challenge to your dog.
Provide off-leash time for your dog to walk and run freely.Off-leash time is one of the most important elements of helping your dog exercise. Not only will your dog be able to run around, but they’ll be able to do so in manner in which they’re comfortable. As a result, off-leash time is not only a beneficial exercise, but is important psychologically.
- Allow your dog to play freely in the backyard. If you can, do so daily.
- Locate a dog park near you. Allow your dog to have between a half an hour and an hour several times a week. Make sure that your dog is in an appropriate park for their size. Small dogs should never run freely with large dogs.
- Try to run with your dog in your backyard or at a dog park. This way, you’ll be encouraging your senior dog to run and play with you. They’ll likely get more exercise this way than if you just let them roam around.
Avoid overly-strenuous activities.An important thing to remember when trying to strengthen your senior dog is that older dogs just don’t have the abilities they once had. As a result, you need to avoid any activity that could hurt, injure, or over-exert your senior dog.
- Don’t ever push your dog harder than you think they can handle.
- Shy away from games like Frisbee.
- Think twice before taking your dog jogging. While you may be training for a marathon, your dog is training for retirement.
Take your dog swimming.Swimming is an excellent way to improve your senior dog's strength. Not only is swimming a great exercise, but it puts very little stress on your senior dog's joints. If possible, start with a hydrotherapy pool, which will introduce your dog to the water in a safe and controlled manner. This way you can assess how they cope with the water and their endurance. Once you have established that your dog enjoys swimming and is fit enough, you can take them swimming in a pool or a safe pond or lake.
- Your vet or a dog daycare or boarding facility may have a hydrotherapy pool.
- Get into the water with your dog; this will allow you to monitor their swimming and to make sure they don't get hurt. This additional precaution is important, as your dog may not be the swimmer they used to be.
- Provide water ramps for your dog to get out of swimming pools.
- Make sure to get a life vest for your dog. This will ensure they stay afloat if they suddenly tire out.
- Avoid taking your senior dog swimming in rivers or other bodies of water that might have strong currents.
Use a resistance vest.Resistance vests are vests for your dog that have lead or other types of weights embedded in them. Because of this, resistance vests are a great way to maximize your dog’s strength training. They should be used on dogs that are already fairly fit.
- Fit your dog with a resistance vest before you go walking.
- Resistance vests are a great option if you live in an area with very flat terrain.
- Look for resistance vests in which you can add more weight. This way, you can slowly strengthen your dog by adding a little more weight every couple of weeks.
- Make sure your dog can handle the vest. Don’t overweight them right away. Try adding only 5% or 10% of their body weight and slowly increase by 5% over couple of weeks.
Video: Leg Strengthening Exercises for Seniors
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