Dogs: The Next Best Workout Partner

A while back, we had a post by our bunny, Alex, who reminded us how amazing these furry beings are in “Dogs, Active Companions and a Girls’ Best Friend”.

As a follow up, here are some ideas how to more thoroughly incorporate that furry friend in your daily routine.

Let me remind you that dogs are one of the best creations of mankind, even if it wasn’t exactly an invention or planned when wolves started taking scraps 15,000 years ago.  I might add that dog spelled backwards is God… a neat phenomenon if you ask me. But that aside, anyone who has a dog or has been around dogs knows the feeling they create deep inside your heart. It’s kind of strange to think that we can love something so much and it doesn’t even have hands, feet or a language that that we can cognitively communicate with.  

They’re like furry extraterrestrials that we somehow partnered up with in this world. Beyond their fuzziness, floppy ears, tails and paws, their importance is clear- they are our companions and if given the opportunity can do pretty much anything with us. Many studies have proven dogs elevate levels of endorphins -one article by the Boston Globe says when participants stroked and spoke to their dogs the level of endorphins and seratonin increased in their brains. This is another reason why dogs have been used as therapy dogs in hospitals and rehab centers. To make your dog (or a dog) part of your routine will benefit them and you twofold- by using them as a motivator to get moving and to make it twice as fun.

Yogi Masters in Disguise

Walking and running with dogs is a pretty common activity.  It’s an easy way to get your exercise in and exercise the dog.  But, have you ever thought of inviting your dog to your yoga class? I bet not (probably because they aren’t allowed but you can also practice yoga at home or at a park).   They are yogi masters at downward dog and who doesn’t love some licks in the middle of a plank? When you’re at their level (height),  they see it as an opportunity to play and that gets them excited about doing the activity with you! For every exercise you do on the ground, there’s an added doggie love component to keep you giggling and having fun.


High Intensity Interval Training

There are so many exercises in this category you can do with your dog.  Do you have a wired dog? Line sprints will wear him out.  After that, try some push up burpees.  You’ll be impressed with their jumping. Other activities dogs will like are planks because they may or may not intuitively add some weight to your back knowing you need to make the set harder. Walking lunges will allow them the opportunity to walk with you and, if you’re lucky, test your balance as they walk through your legs to make sure you’re getting your back knee to the ground. Lastly, high knees will really get them excited. But watch out, their excitement might interfere with your knees. Do you have a small, mellow dog? Try putting them on our back as you do some push ups and hold them at your chest for Russian twists. Or, carry them as you do walking lunges and lift them above your head for some toned shoulders. Either way, incorporating dogs in to your HIIT routine will benefit both of you.

Snow Sports

Try bringing the dog along on during your winter activities.  Is your dog too small to romp in the snow? Put them in backpack and take them along for the ride!  Scared they might get cold? Buy or make a doggie vest! Small old sweatshirts with sleeves cropped off works great for medium-large sized dogs. Thrift stores provide many items easily transformed into dog-approved attire.   As long as they keep moving, they stay warm. So, unless the temperature drops below 30  degrees, you should have a heavy duty doggie attire for them to wear.  


SUPing & Other Water Sports

This has been around a few years now, but SBM would love to see more of it out there! SUPing is getting more popular and as summer rolls in, it will be the prime time to start working those abs on your boards.  Inviting a dog to come along will provide a furry friend on the board and add to the adventure and challenge of keeping them on board.  In addition to SUPing, taking them along for a raft or kayak ride is just as great (and completely worth the hassle) of finding the right life jacket and dealing with their excitement.


Nap. Learn From Dog

This is probably the most important rest-ercise you can do with your dog. Rest is often overlooked in the day-to-day grind. When you can snuggle up with your dog, taking time to rest and recover is that much sweeter.  They say it’s not good to let your dog on the bed or couch for your personal reason or other authority, but we’re convinced that’s a myth. They are pack creatures, and you are their pack and packs sleep together. ‘Ruf said.

dogs, nap, couch, blanket

If you didn’t already know the secret extreme life of dogs and how much they are capable of, I hope this article opens your mind to the unlimited opportunities waiting ahead for you and beloved furry friend. Now get out there and play!

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About Jenny Bergren

A California transplant, Jenny is a fitness and inspiration junkie. Weekdays she works as a commercial and retail designer, weekends she hits the trails- rain, shine, or snow. With a collegiate and post collegiate background in competitive running, long and explorative trail runs are firmly her highest exercise priority with backcountry powder skiing a close second. Off the mountain you can find her happily experimenting in the kitchen with her sous chef Stanley the Vizsla.