Be Your Pet's Personal Trainer

Most people are probably already aware that exercise is great for you−it gives you energy, makes your muscles work better and keeps your heart and lungs in shape. But did you know that it’s great for pets too? Animals need exercise to stay healthy just as much as humans do so why not become exercise buddies? Whether your pet is a dog, cat, gerbil or bird, they will love it when they’re included.

When you or your kids are out exercising with your pet, keep this in mind:

  • When your pet is tugging on the leash think of the muscles you are working in your arms and legs while you hold them.
  • If your pet enjoys going fast, try jogging beside them. This is great for heart and lungs.
  • Play games like fetch using a Frisbee, ball or stick. This is great exercise and fun for everyone.
  • If your pet is smaller, play hide and seek indoors or in the backyard. It will be sure to make everyone playing giggle.
  • If the sidewalk is too hot for your pet's paws, try to find a big patch of grass, stay in the shade, or take a trip to a nearby river or lake and splash around together. 

Don't forget to take breaks and make sure both you and your pet get lots of water to stay hydrated in the heat. 

If you own a pet big or small, make yourself your pet’s personal trainer, and you’ll see how happy you’ll both be with some play and exercise!

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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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