Running dogs is exercise for me too

8 Jan

Oops. I missed a couple of days of posting. Did you miss me? 😉

I have not, however, missed my daily 30 minutes for the 100 Days Challenge 🙂

  • Day 6: It finally warmed up enough to run dogs, so that was my exercise for the day.
  • Day 7: More Zumba with Phoebe! Wish I could fit in more of these classes. They’re fun and a great workout.
  • Day 8: Ran dogs again. We were supposed to race, but the race got cancelled.

I’m not sure if everyone would, but I’m counting running dogs as exercise for me as well as the dogs. Yes, the dogs are the true athletes, and amazing athletes at that. But anyone who has ever driven a dogsled knows that you’re not just standing on the runners; you’re driving that sled. Driving means steering around corners, twists and turns, obstacles, and dips in the trail. It means controlling (or attempting to control) the speed of the team. It also sometimes means stopping the team and jumping off the sled if a dog gets tangled on a line or needs to be moved around in the team. I will admit that us sprint mushers have easier sled driving than distance mushers, but that’s for another time 🙂

Piper in the cab of the truck at the Tok races.

Not all dogs get to ride in the cab. Those are the dog boxes behind the cab. Note the sled on top of the dog boxes.

When I say I’m running dogs on a day, it’s more than just jumping on the back of a sled and taking off. It’s loading dogs into their boxes on my truck, driving to where we’ll train or race, then letting the dogs out of their boxes. Some days they go back into their boxes to wait until it’s their turn to run. Some days I have to load and unload the sled on the top of the truck too. Often we’ll work up a sweat just harnessing and walking dogs up to get hooked into the team. After the run the dogs get unhooked from the team and returned to the truck (or their houses) for their post-run hydration. Finally all gets loaded back up onto or into the truck and we go home.

Calorie-counting apps and the like will calculate how many calories you burn doing a particular exercise. For an hour of Zumba, it’s pretty straightforward. But how do you estimate how many calories you burn running dogs? I haven’t figured that out yet, but I am convinced it is physical exercise and I burn calories doing it.

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One Response to “Running dogs is exercise for me too”

  1. Christopher Swingley January 9, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, winter activities section (https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/Activity-Categories/winter-activtities) “dog sledding, mushing” uses 7.5 MET. 1 MET is the amount of energy you consume at rest, so if you calculate the calories you burn, per hour, at rest, then multiply by 6.5 and by the number of hours you were mushing, you can calculate the number of calories you burned. For reference, “hiking” is 6.0 MET, and to get 7.5 MET running, you’d need to run somewhere between 12 minute miles (8.3 MET) and 13 minute miles (6.0 MET).

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