In the last 20 years, many people have tried pilates, the art of controlled movements. As an exercise regimen, pilates can help improve balance, tone muscles and bring practitioners a sense of peace. For a new twist, try doing exercises while holding your pets! While cradling your puppy or small dog (sorry large breed dog moms and dads) while doing squats, lunges, lunges with side to side twists and bridge pulses with your little buddy on your belly. Of course, this is only something you should do if your dog (or cat) is calm enough. A wriggly puppy might throw off your sense of balance, so exercise some caution.
The great thing about agility training is that it not only provides exercise for both you and your dog, it can forge a closer connection between you, too! And it doesn’t have to take place in a pre-approved or professional facility. As long as there’s plenty of room to move around, you can set up your own little endurance challenges. If you have a small dog, a long hallway can afford sufficient space to set up an obstacle course (think plastic cups rather than pylons and wooden dowels on stacks of books as hurdles). The only limits are your imagination!
Yoga with Your Dog
Just like with Pup Pilates, only docile dog should join you for resistance training. After the customary warm-up, some compatible moves you can do with your dog are the prayer position, the Lion King pose (remember when Simba was held aloft for the admiration of the Animal Kingdom? it’s based on that), the Crescent Warrior (or in this case, Purrier) and Vinyasa to downward dog. Even if you don’t hold your dog, their close proximity can add both peaceful and playful moments to your practice. Some people just enjoy the happy snoring of their dogs while working through their yoga routine. Who knows, that constant sound might even help you reach a higher state of peace!
Low-Resistance Strength Training
If you’re more old school and would prefer to rekindle a weight-training routine, but you can’t lift the same amounts you used to, strength training with your pets is an option! Before you laugh, just recall that it did wonders for Milo of Croton, a 6th Century Greek wrestler who lifted a calf every day until it was a fully grown bull (or so they say). But we’re not shooting for anything remotely that superhuman. Try push ups with your dog on your back, the puppy press, puppy squats, lateral raises (again, think Lion King) and dog curls. And, of course, in between reps, be sure to take time for belly scratches with your pets.
So Many More Options …
The main thing is to get outside, keep fit, enjoy the great outdoors with your pets. Live life to the fullest!