How to Work Out with Your Dog
“Today is windy… I must be burning more calories walking my dog today due to wind resistance.”
Yup, that’s the type of justification I make in my head as I take a big bite out of my lunch. Before giving birth, I was a fitness addict and loved high-intensity interval training (HIIT) group fitness classes. I looked forward to being yelled at by the fitness instructor to go faster, to go harder, and to never give up no matter how much pain I felt.
However, after giving birth, I have not had the chance to go back to the gym… and I just don’t know when I will find the time until Zoe goes to school. Lifting weights at home gets a bit boring, and I need that extra motivation to keep me exercising after nights of little sleep. I need that fitness instructor to get in my face and tell me what to do!
So, one day while I was walking my dog, I thought… wait, why not let Bliss be my fitness instructor? I have to walk her anyway every day, so why not burn extra calories while doing it? Plus, working out with my dog would make the walk more fun and interesting for both parties involved.
Here are the guidelines:
- Warm up by jogging for 5 minutes.
- After warming up, set a start and finish point for a full-out sprint (for example, I usually run from one street to the next, or from the garbage bin to the fire hydrant). If you have an energetic dog like mine, you will have no choice but to run like your pants are on fire because Bliss gets so hyper seeing me sprint that she sprints as well… and if I slow down even a little Bliss will probably drag me along on the leash. Do NOT stop until you reach the finish point, and try and stop your dog ahead of the finish point so you don’t choke her with the leash with a sudden stop.
- Do active recovery by walking until your next start point (I usually walk across the street).
- Set another start point, and this time skip instead of sprint to the finish point. Yes, SKIP! Like when you were a kid and you got a new toy and you were so happy that you skipped all the way home! Try and hop as high as you can and skip as fast as possible to the finish point. Trust me, this will get your heart pumping. Bliss loves it when I skip because she thinks I am playing with her and I swear she tries to skip as well.
- Another active recovery… Set another start point and this time alternate side shuffles instead of skipping. I do 10 with my left leg leading, then switch to do 10 with my right leg leading, and repeat until I reach the finish point. Try and stay as low as possible so you get maximum burn in your quads.
- Now… this is where your dog really comes in. Anytime your dog stops to pee, poop, smell the roses, whatever, you stop and do stationary exercises. Some examples include squats, jumping lunges, high knees, tuck jumps, etc. If this happens in the middle of your sprint, stop and do the exercises and resume the sprint after your dog finishes her business, and same with the skipping and the shuffling. Now, the key here is that you do not stop until your dog resumes the walk. Your dog could be peeing for 20 seconds, or she could be sniffing around for 5 minutes… You keep going!
- Don’t forget to cool down by walking the last 5 minutes.
I know what you are thinking – Am I going to look like a fool doing this in public? My response to that is… Who cares?You are a mom with young children. You are a mom who is lacking sleep big time. You are a mom who is trying to burn some calories and stay fit despite all the choirs to be completed at home. You deserve an applause for exercising in any shape or form.
How do you fit exercise into your busy life?