McDermott: What I learned about fitness from my puppy

Scott McDermott’s weekly column about health and wellness

Fitness and health are simple. Super simple. Really. They honestly are. Fitness and health is straight forward, simple and has not changed in thousands of years in spite of what so many authors want to tell you.

If you ever want to see this in an honest, un-encumbered way, get a puppy. If I could be more like my puppy, life would be so easy and I would be crazy fit!

Our puppy is only 13 weeks old, and he already knows all of the key facts for being fit and healthy, and has zero bad habits. Well, OK, he has a few bad habits, like pooping in the middle of the dining room – we are working on that one! I also don’t recommend chewing clothing, teddy bears and lego bricks. We have learned to keep that stuff above nose height now.

Here’s what our puppy knows.

Drink water: Puppy knows that you drink water all the time, all day long. After every run, you drink water. With any meal, drink water. Many times during the day, when walking near the dish, you have some water. He never, ever complains about it being ‘just’ water. If it is kept clean and filled, he has lots. He doesn’t drink coffee, tea, milk, energy drinks or pop, just water. See? I told you, my puppy is a genius.

Exercise: Puppy understands that you exercise every single day. Period. In fact, 3 or 4 times a day. Not so much to over do it, or cause pain or damage, but definitely enough to get a workout in. Some of it slow and curious, some of it super fast, and some of it with plyometrics (jumping and tricks). Not only does this help with the next few points, but it is fun!

Eat well: We get some credit for this because we only feed our puppy the good stuff – no fillers, garbage or things dogs (or people) shouldn’t eat like artificial flavours, colours and the like. But Puppy knows that you eat often. Not too much so that you are really full (he is always hungry it seems) but enough to support a growing healthy body. He has no distractions during dinner either. Pup doesn’t watch TV or play on the phone, eating time is for eating and chewing properly, followed by a drink of water.

Rest: Puppy has reminded us that getting to bed every night around 11, and getting up crisply at 7:30 a.m. for exercise is the way to go! After a particularly big walk, a nap is a great idea, in fact, several per day is recommended. OK, fine, he is a young puppy and as adults we don’t need quite that many naps. I don’t know about you, but if I tripled my body weight in 4 weeks, I would be tired too. Still, it applies. If you want your body to: regenerate from exercise, run optimally, heal well, avoid sickness, and support you; then enough sleep is a requirement.

Going to the bathroom is important. Puppy might be learning where to do this specifically, but he does understand that, when you gotta go, you gotta go! I know lots of people, myself included, that are often too busy to take time to pee, and just hold it – not cool. I also know people that eat poorly and as a result, hardly ever poop. Also not cool. There are lots of ways to help with that, and honestly, you need to have a good ‘movement’ every day. Puppy says 2 or 3, but we disagree on that one for humans.

Snuggle and cuddle. OK, so maybe this isn’t necessarily a fitness thing, but for sure a few hugs are great for overall health! I recommend you hug your friends, family and people who need one. It’s good medicine, it really is.

There you go!

Happy Training!

Scott

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