From Doga to Fetch: How to Exercise at Home with Your Four-Legged Friend

Oct 18, 2018

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

by Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

Do you exercise at home as regularly as you should? It isn’t just humans slacking in the exercise department. Our pets are growing lazy too. Pet obesity is at an all-time high, and so are the health problems that can reduce your dog’s quality of life. Weight loss benefits aside, a regular exercise routine will help your dog stay calm, well-behaved, and less likely to act out.
As far as we know, there aren’t any gyms that let you exercise alongside your dog. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your workout time for theirs. You and your four-legged friend(s) can exercise at home together. Not only will your dog’s keen sense of routine remind you when it’s time to get moving, but the bond between you and your best friend will grow stronger.
What to Know Before You Start
Be aware of your dog’s current health and activity level. Ease them into a routine and increase the activity gradually. Most dogs require between thirty minutes to two hours of daily exercise.
Understand what breed your dog is and how that affects their stamina. Larger dogs can go on longer walks than small dogs. Breed also affects how your dog wants to exercise. Hunting breeds, for instance, are more likely to prefer games of fetch and chase.
Consult your vet if you are concerned your dog may have health problems that could worsen with exercise (such as joint pain) or if you need help determining your dog’s breed.
6 Ways to Exercise at Home
You don’t need a wide-open space or special equipment to create a fun and beneficial workout for both of you. Here’s how you can take advantage of what you already own.

  1. Stairs

With your dog at your side, walk or run up and down a flight of stairs. If your home has outside steps incorporate the yard as part of the workout by running around the perimeter before going back up the steps.

  1. Doga

Maybe dogs can’t quite grasp the concept of breathing along with the flow of poses, but that’s fine. What they do understand is their favorite person is down on their level. Smaller dogs can be held during certain poses which will build your muscle. Larger dogs can practice “lay down” and “roll over” by copying you.

  1. Chase

Grab their favorite toy. Get their attention. Run! It’s easy to exercise at home when your partner is eager to follow your lead with a lot of enthusiasm. A quick game of chase is excellent cardio for the both of you.

  1. Fetch

While this cardio workout is more for your dog, you can add in some muscle building exercises of your own. Do squats, push-ups, or sit-ups as you wait for your dog to return with the toy.

  1. Swim

Going for a swim in your pool is perfect for an older dog or one struggling with joint issues. If doing laps isn’t their thing, make it a game of fetch by tossing a floatable toy to the other end.

  1. Follow the Leader

The difference in this workout? The leader is your dog. Let them take control on a walk around the neighborhood. If they want to turn left to check out a new rock, or follow the scent of a squirrel, follow their lead. Your dog will be excited (and burn more energy) if their regular route is changed.

The key is to get into a routine of exercising at home with your pup. Avoid health problems, for you and your dog that come along with an inactive lifestyle. If they could speak, they would thank you for it.
Dogs aren’t the only ones who can experience joint point. If your dog is easily outrunning you while knee pain slows you down, it may be time to meet with one of our specialists. Request an appointment and our team will help you retake the lead during that next game of chase.

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