By Spring 2014 I’d reached my first goal of a one and a half stone weight loss. I was feeling great and at this point the loss had been mainly through diet changes following the weight watchers plan, I’ll go into more detail on my love of weight watchers in another post. We were on a family weekend away on the Northumberland coast surrounded by dog walkers and beautiful beaches so I randomly decided it would be a great idea for us to get a dog! The kids were aged 4 and 2 and I’m sure where some Mums experience a bit of broodiness for a third child, I was experiencing broodiness for a dog. So, I embarked on my usual journey of googling everything and badgering my husband to agree with me until he can no longer put up with it and just let’s me do what I want. Sound a familiar approach to anyone? Ha! A Hungarian Vizsla was our breed of choice. I’d always wanted a big dog, not sure why but if anyone had asked me previously what I would have had I’d have said a German Shepherd, a Pointer or a Bloodhound, I just love big dogs. Hungarian Vizslas scored really well on the family dog front being described as gentle, loyal and obedient. We have a winner!
OK. Now let me just stop here to say the idea of getting a puppy to raise with the kids was very romanticised at this point. My husband works from home so doggy day care was never going to be an issue but my oh my did I not realise how much hard work was involved in getting through the puppy stage and especially with one who is massive compared to lots of other dogs but is still just a badly behaved puppy. Talk about tear your hair out. Going out and about with a big disobedient puppy is NOT for the faint of heart.
So why am I talking about our family getting a dog on a health and fitness blog? Well even when I hated him (I feel bad saying that as I love him to bits now but this was all true at the time!) Yogi our Hungarian Vizsla was an energetic puppy who needed a good walk every day and that was the start of my fitness journey. I have walked miles with Yogi in every type of weather there possibly is. Minimum distance would be two miles and quite often as much as 5 and 6 miles a day. Here comes the hot steppers! The good thing is our two kids are now excellent walkers and I chuckle when I hear people say a particular distance was ‘a bit too far’ for their (generally older) children to walk as ours can literally walk for miles and miles. Especially on holidays where at the end of a day we can have covered as much as 10 miles. They’ve got great calves! Don’t get me wrong, they do need encouragement along the way, nature trail sheets, a backpack full of snacks and goodies or a fun destination always helps.
Family dog walks are great and keep everyone fit and healthy. I do however enjoy the walks when the kids are at school and me and the hubby can pick up the pace, these are definitely the more fat burning walks and living at the top of a hill from the city (Starbucks cup of tea stop) reached via farmers fields does make for a tough uphill walk back. The combination of fresh air, beautiful views, muddy puddles, actual uninterrupted conversations and a brisk walk make for a great combo of healthy body and mind. Try it and if you don’t have a dog, borrow one! I know a very well behaved, loving, loyal and gentle one…