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Your dog might be your best workout partner. According to recent research, dog owners who take their dogs regularly for walks meet the national standards for moderate, regular, or vigorous exercise. On an average, dog walkers tend to exercise for half an hour more per week compared to people who do not have pets. It is like having your own personal motivation trainer. Here are a few exercises you can do with your dog that will benefit both of you:
- Warmup – Go for a back and forth power walk with your dog in two minute bursts while holding him on a short leash. Once you feel warmed up, you can switch over to a sprint or a light jog. But remember that if this is the first time you are going to do this with your dog, he will not know what to expect. So make sure you reward him for his good actions.
- Wall sit – This is a great exercise for conditioning your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Your back should be to the wall and your feet must be shoulder width apart. Once you are in position, push the hips, shoulders and lower back to the wall. Slowly, walk out the feet as you let the upper body sink to the floor. After that, bend the knees till your legs form a right angle and stay in this position for a minute. If you want added assistance, you can place the paw of your dog on your knee.
- Leaping Labrador – Make your dog stand to your left about a foot apart. Bend your knees slightly and ensure that your chest is over the toes. Move sideways while you shift all weight to your left as you slowly raise the right foot off the ground. Hop sideways and land on the right foot, followed by your left leg. Repeat this thrice and encourage your canine companion to join you. Once you are done, lead with the left and let the right leg follow in a hopping motion. Repeat this thrice and make sure you praise your dog in between.
- Reverse lunge – Compared to basic lunges, reverse lunges do not stress your knee that much while still helping with conditioning the leg. Ask your dog to sit while you face him. Take a large step backward and lower the hips till the front thigh is parallel to the ground and the front knee is over the ankle. Use the front leg to push back. Now repeat it on the opposite side. The movement should be controlled and slow.
- Butt exercise – Lie on the back with bent knees and your feet all flat on the floor. You can also rest the feet on a bosu ball or any other available short surface. Make your dog lie down to your side, or sit on the bosu ball. Let your lower back and hips sink to the floor. Take a deep breath as you do it. Engage the abdominal muscles as you exhale and life the hips off the floor. Make sure you press the heels to the floor for extra stability. Inhale as you lower the hips back to the original position.