You already have to step out with Snoopy in the rain, snow, wind and fog at least twice a day (you and the mail carriers deserve some kind of medal), you might as well make the most of it. When you’re both feeling up for a little more activity, crank up the intensity and you could see real results. Tricia Murphy Madden, creator of the workout DVD, My Best Friend’s Workout, shows us how to make over our dog walk into a workout.
- Walking lunge: With your dog next to you on a leash, begin with a step forward with your right leg. Lower your body to 90 degrees at both knees — try 45 degrees if you’re a beginner. Don’t step out too far. There should be between 2 to 2.5 feet between your feet. Keep your weight on your heels, and don’t allow your knees to extend beyond your toes. Inhale as you bend into the lunge, and exhale as you come up. Your dog should walk beside you as you lunge. Repeat this 10 times per leg, then rest at a comfortable walking pace. Repeat up to 3 times per walk.
- Shuffle steps: This lateral move works the big muscles in your lower body and gets your heart rate up. As for Fido, if he loves fetch, he’ll love this. Begin by bending the knees and stepping out sideways, and toss a ball off to your left or right side. Once your dog takes off to chase the ball, begin shuffling in the same direction to catch your dog. Keep your feet parallel, and make sure you’re picking your feet up and transferring weight from one to the other. If you have an older dog, you may want to keep him on a leash, omit the ball, and make your shuffle steps bigger and slower. Repeat 3-4 times per walk.
- Tricep dips: This is a good exercise to follow the shuffle step, since it gives your dog a moment to rest beside you. If you have a small lap dog, feel free to put him on your lap for a bit more of a challenge (and some stealth snuggle time). Find a park bench or chair. Sit down, and place your hands palm side down close to your body on either side of your thighs. Keeping your feet flat on the ground, lift yourself off the bench and bend at the elbows, dropping your body a few inches below the bench seat. Keep your elbows parallel to each other and try not to raise your shoulders. Don’tt lower more than 90 degrees. Push yourself back up and repeat 8-10 times.
- Frog leaps: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight into your heels and bend into a semi-squat. Toss a ball in front of you, and when your dog runs to chase the ball, jump with both feet forward, landing 1-4 feet from where you started. Make sure your knees are bent when you land. Stay in the landing squat until your dog returns the ball, then begin the series again. Take a rest after 8-10 jumps.