Although going for a jog by yourself can be therapeutic, and attending a group fitness class is a great way to network and break a serious sweat, have you ever considered working out with your dog? It is truly a great way to switch up your fitness routine and add some happiness to your life! I recently adopted a new dog (pictured above)! He is a two-year-old American bulldog named Rex and as a new edition to my family, I have started a weekly workout routine with him.
As an advocate for comprehensive total-body fitness programs, I have discovered that it is easy to perform both aerobic and anaerobic fitness routines with Rex. I love the added outdoor component that I get while working out with Rex! To start exercising with your dog, check out my five favorite routines that will allow both you and your furry family member to achieve an efficient and effective fitness routine together!
#1 Trail or Beach Jogging Intervals — Last week I wrote about how challenging jogging or exercising on shifting surfaces (i.e. sand) can be in “Maria Pontillo’s Top 5 Reasons To Get Out Of The Gym & On The Sand.” You can still apply this same workout method when you are working out with your pet! Exercising on the beach or at a local park will ensure that you work harder compared to running or exercising on a flat surface or a propelling treadmill. Take advantage of exercising outdoors and bring your dog with you! Whether you do 20 minutes of jogging or 10 sets of running intervals, this is a great option for keeping you and your dog lean! You’ll be surprised how much a dog can do for you compared to a treadmill, both mentally and physically.
#2 Doggie Stairs Intervals — This format obviously targets the quads and glutes and will certainly get your heart rate up! Find a local staircase and do 5 to 10 stair runs, depending on you and your dog’s endurance level. Make sure to have a treat waiting for your pet at the end to reward him/her for finishing a challenging workout! Build up your strength and endurance by adding 5 to 10 more total stair climb intervals every week! Start incorporating this into your weekly jogging routine and you’ll start to notice great definition in your glutes and quads! You’ll notice the improvements in your workout pal, too!
#3 Fetch Sit-Ups — Target your midsection by performing this simple yet clever exercise format with your dog at a local park or even in your own backyard. Crunch and tone your tummy while your dog sprints to play fetch. Simply grab your pet’s favorite fetch toy and lay down on the floor in sit-up position. Hold the toy as you do a sit-up, and pretend to toss it as you reach the top. Fido will chase after it, only to realize you still have his toy. Do another sit-up, and pretend to toss the toy again. Try to get in as many consecutive reps as you can until your dog starts breathing extremely heavy. Once your dog is breathing heavy, give him a 5 minute cool down break, as this will help prevent him from overworking his/her cardiovascular system. Don’t forget to offer him water during his break!
#4 Doggy Paddle Laps — To be honest, I did not swim often before I got Rex, but once I discovered that he enjoys a good pool session, I realized it was time to switch up my own personal workout routine. I can write an entire book on the health and fitness benefits of swimming, but here are a few essentials that I want you to know: the resistance of the water allows for a true strengthening component while the buoyancy creates a stress-free environment for your joints. Spending 10 to 20 minutes treading water or swimming laps will certainly increase your heart rate and allow for a great cardiovascular workout! Add your pup to the mix and your workout just got more exciting!
#5 Dog Circuit — This workout routine is a great way to incorporate circuit training into your weekly routines! Set up a fitness circuit outside with five stations and have your dog follow you through it. At each station perform each exercise for one minute while your dog chews his favorite bone. Repeat each circuit station five times. Before you know it, you will have completed a 25-minute outdoor circuit workout! Not only do you benefit from getting in your daily fitness activity, your dog will get a decent amount of outdoor time as well! Even better, find a local dog friendly park and jog to each station at increased distances for an added cardiovascular burn!