OK, I admit that, like many people, I am not the best about sticking to my New Year’s Resolutions. Those bright and shiny resolutions on January 1 start to look a little less brilliant a couple of weeks into the new year–but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to buckle down and start that new habit now.
One of my resolutions has been to get fit. Hours (and hours) spent at the computer every day mean that the main exercise I get are our twice-daily dog walks. And while those dog walks are certainly better than nothing, they’re not taken at a pace to make up for the hours spent in the office chair.
I just received a list from Healthy Paws Pet Insurance of nine ways you and your dog can get in shape together–now I’m going to see which will be the best fit for me along with Irie and Tiki!
Wall Sits + Fetch
Lean with your back against the wall with your feet shoulder width apart, then slowly slide down the wall until your knees are at a 90-degree angle (warning: not for the weak-kneed.) You should feel the burn in your upper thighs, not your knees. Then, throw a ball for your dog to retrieve! Stay in the wall sit position for 20 to 60 seconds – depending on your strength – throwing it as many times as needed. Rest for 30 seconds between sets of three.
Curtsy Lunge + Shake
Practice your pup’s manners with the curtsy lunge! Step your right foot back and behind your left hip, then repeat on the other side; left foot behind right hip. As you step back, offer your hand to your dog and say the “shake” command. This workout move targets the glutes and hip flexors! Provide positive reinforcement after each set of 10 lunges and a belly rub after all three sets.
Planks + Wait
Lying on your stomach, push yourself onto your toes and forearms. Focus on keeping your back flat and your head up, engaging your abdominal muscles for full benefits. Before you assume the position, place a treat on your dog’s paw or nose give the command “wait.” Don’t worry about your dog – planks are harder than they look! Last as long as you can in the plank position, then release your patient pup.
Mini Hurdles + Heel
Get your cardio in with some speed training exercises on mini hurdles. Jump, skip or hop through your preferred hurdle arrangement, having Fido run alongside or behind you. Larger dogs can get tangled up, so space out hurdles appropriately or make a dog-friendly obstacle course. At the end of the trial – run down and back at least three times – practice “heel” with your dog. For every successful sit give your dog a treat.
Jump Squats (For Both!)
With feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, squat down and come up into the air. Jump high enough that your legs are fully extended! Bring Fido into the equation with a treat in hand. Every time you jump, have your pup jump too. Depending on your activity level, do 10 to 20 jump squats per set, with three sets total.
Russian Twist + Tennis Ball
Another ab-blaster, the Russian twist is even more agonizing when you add a dog. Balance on your bum and lift your feet and knees off the ground, with your back at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Rotate your torso left and right: that’s one rep. Traditionally the move is done with a balance ball or weight plate, but for a dog-friendly version you can use a tennis ball! Either play keep-away or fetch, doing 10 reps and three sets.
Interval Sprints + Moral Support
A component of circuit training, sprint intervals get your heart pumping and are a great metabolism booster. Be sure to stretch and get your blood moving before engaging in such an intense exercise. This exercise may not be the best for flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs, or those with heart and respiratory conditions. Mark your intervals at 40 to 50 feet from the starting point, then sprint for your chosen interval (typically 30 seconds) with your dog at your side. Rest for a period twice as long as the sprint – 60 seconds in this case. Repeat the sprint/rest combo five times, and get plenty of water for you and your pup afterwards.
Go for a run with your dog!
Recent studies show that exercising with a partner increases motivation and makes you more likely to stick with it. Why not make your pup your exercise partner? Here are four reasons why you should:
- Dogs don’t complain.
- It’s healthy. For both of you.
- Share a sweat session and a bond.
- Tucker your pup out!
Get wet! Try swimming, paddle boarding or surfing
Living in warmer weather? Most dogs are natural swimmers but some are not; luckily, lots of canine fitness centers are popping up and will teach your dog how to swim. What if you want to swim together? You might want to hit a dog-friendly beach and tackle the waves, and don’t forget to bring the paddle board—another great workout for both you and your pup.
Healthy Paws and partners strongly recommend that you should consult your physician before beginning any exercise program, as well as your veterinarian if you’ll be incorporating your dog in any aerobic activity. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk and are voluntarily participating in these activities.