Canicross is a fun, energetic sport that is becoming more and more popular with humans and dogs alike. As the Covid-19 pandemic is putting a temporary stop to many team sports and collaborative hobbies, the flexibility of being able to carry on training and running alone with your dog in your own time without breaking the rules is very attractive. Plus, when we are allowed to gather socially again, full-scale canicross races can recommence, adding back the competitive element of this compelling sport.
Studies show that owners who exercise with their dog are more likely to enjoy higher levels of fitness and motivation, as the work-out becomes a more companionable time with your canine companion, rather than something you have to try and keep engaging with on your own. As dogs must be exercised regularly to stay healthy, canicrossing can keep you both fit, exercised and entertained at the same time.
Here are some more benefits for you and your dog to taking part in canicross.
Increases your physical fitness
As well as higher energy levels, gained from regular exercise and increased stamina, canicrossing offers the human body multiple physical benefits. Running helps your heart stay healthy and keeps your blood pressure steady. It also builds and tones muscles while helping to keep the weight off. Canicrossing also helps to preserve bone mass for a healthier older age, boosts the immune system and even supports you in sleeping better as you move your body and use your mind more while you run.
Increases your dog’s physical fitness
In a similar way, canicrossing helps your dog to keep the weight off, build muscle toner and reduce weight. It promotes healthy bones and ligaments through regular exercise and a more active lifestyle. Canicrossing helps dogs to establish a good sleeping pattern and encourages them to eat and drink well, since more energy is being burned. Finally, it supports the body in warding off diseases by boosting the immune system and exposing your dog to fresh air and sunshine.
Improves your mental wellbeing
As well as all the physical advantages mentioned above, canicrossing brings multiple mental wellbeing boosts as well. It elevates your mood as the simple act of running and exercising releases endorphins and encourages you to put your phone down, get outdoors and get moving. Achieving a goal, winning races or berating your own personal best times can also increase self-esteem and build up confidence, while working out the route and taking care of your dog throughout increases concentration and exercises the brain. You can make great friends too!
Improves your dog’s mental wellbeing
Many canicross enthusiasts report a reduction in their dog’s behavioural problems shortly after taking up the sport. This is because their dogs are introduced to a more active lifestyle, has an added purpose of running with their owner in an exciting sport and is learning how to respond better to commands as they run. Just like us, achieving these types of goals increases their confidence and boosts mental stimulation, lifting the mood and helping nervous dogs be more adventurous. Canicrossing can also really help strengthen the bond between owner and dog, boosting feelings of affection and a sense of belonging to the ‘pack.’
Finally, canicrossing can benefit the wider community too – both human and canine. Greater activity levels lower the number of visits to the vet for illnesses and injuries, while dogs that keep to a healthier weight will also experience fewer problems with their wellbeing. The canicross community is a friendly one, which often leads to friendships outside of the sport as well.