Get Fit Alongside Fido: 5 Ways to Work Out With Your Pet

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Sometimes, working out with a partner can be a pain. You have to coordinate schedules, and a less-motivated workout buddy can end up slowing you down. No worries, though; the perfect workout partner has been right by your side the entire time. Who should you be getting fit with? Your four-legged friend.

Your dog will always be up for some outdoor fun, and it’s just as good for your furry friend as it is for you. Women’s Health writes that more than 52 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, while one-third of Americans are obese. You know what that means? It’s time for you both to get up and get moving! Here are a few fun workout moves to try.

1. Women’s Health recommends trying a few of these pet-friendly moves. Before you do, warm up a bit by doing a minute-long powerwalk, followed by some high knees and butt kicks until you feel nice and loose.

Rover’s Reverse Lunges with Paw: Start by telling your dog to sit. Then face him with your feet together. Step back with one foot so your front leg is bent at a 90-degree angle with your knee directly above your ankle. At the bottom of each lunge, ask your dog for his paw to “shake.” Release the dog’s paw as you stand to return to your starting position. Repeat on the other side, and ask your dog for his other paw. Repeat for 20 reps. It’s OK if your dog doesn’t know “shake.” Instead, simply pat him on the head.

Paws Push-Ups: Ask your dog to sit or lie down next to you while you get into a push-up position. Keep your abs tight and elbows tucked into your sides, and lower your body until it hovers above the ground; then push back up. Do as many as you possibly can. While you recover, have your dog do five doggy push-ups by telling him to sit, then lay down five times.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Shape recommends finding ways to incorporate these moves while you’re on a walk. You’ll burn extra calories by alternating between toning moves and cardio.

Hide and Seek Squat: Stand in front of your dog with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and hold your dog’s favorite treat up with your right hand (make sure he sees it!). Push your hips back to squat down and pass the treat under your left leg from your right hand to your left (your goal here is to let your dog try to find it). Quickly stand back up and hold the treat up with your left hand. That’s one rep; aim for 10 reps total.

Puppy Pop Up Jacks: Crouch down on the floor in front of your dog, holding a toy or treat with both hands. Jump up quickly and push your feet apart, landing with your feet wide and your arms reaching up into a wide ‘V’ with the toy in your right hand. Now, jump your feet back together and land down in your crouched position again. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 times, making sure to alternate the hand that holds the toy every time you jump.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. If cardio is more your style, considering finding a dog-friendly 5K or 10K race to participate in. She Knows writes that these races are popping up everywhere, and they’re a great way to push both you and your pup. Dogs happen to be great running buddies because they’re often naturally athletic and are born with a natural drive to run.

Similar to humans, dogs need proper training before an event like this. Make sure you give you and your dog plenty of time to train and get used to running together before partaking in a race. If your dog isn’t used to running long distances, make sure you start with shorter distances and work your way up. Also keep in mind: you want your dog to run beside you, not in front of you. This limits the possibility of an accident.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewmalone/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewmalone/

4. These Prevention moves will help you work up a sweat, while ensuring your dog has a fun workout too.

Fetch Tease for Abs: Grab your pet’s favorite fetch toy and get 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. Your dog will chase after it, only to realize you still have his toy (pretty tricky!). Do another sit-up, and pretend to toss the toy again. Try to get in as many reps as you can until your dog stops chasing and playing along.

Dogstacle Course:  Place fitness gear throughout your backyard, like you would if you were setting up an obstacle course. Ideas for stations could include a fitness step, bosu ball, jump rope and a hula hoop. Place your dog on a leash and briskly walk through the course together. At each station, stop and do a specific exercise, like modified push-ups on the step or balancing moves on the bosu ball. If your dog is well-trained, have him sit still while you work out, but it’s OK if he’s a little squirmy. If your pooch runs off, use it as cardio – sprint up to track him down!

source -- y.caradec, Flickr

Source: y.caradec, Flickr

5. All right, tennis fans. This one’s for you. Try playing a game of dog tennis with your four-legged friend. Here’s how it works: Grab a tennis racket and some tennis balls and head to the park. Practice your tennis swing and hit some high, low and lazy balls with both hands for your dog to catch and bring back to you; try to also incorporate some sprint intervals in between. Note: This works best if your dog is a good fetch player! Although, you could always use it as an opportunity to introduce your pup to the game.

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