Our furry friends could be the secret to finding more time in our hectic lives for exercise. Don’t have a furry friend? Adopting a loving pooch could help you and your loved ones on a quest to better health and fitness!
BY MIRANDA MALISANI, HN
As a busy working mom with two active boys (ages four and eight), there’s always a lot going on! Adding a puppy to the mix seemed like it might be just another obstacle to achieving my fitness goals. Surprisingly, it’s been the total opposite.
Our Cockapoo puppy, Chia, made her way into our lives just over a month ago. Like most pups, she’s playful, spunky and full of energy! She’s been keeping us on our toes (and all fours) ever since her arrival.
Before Chia’s adoption, I’d already become creative with my fitness goals. Instead of scheduled gym visits, I pledged to take a series of movement breaks throughout each hectic day. My mantra became, “Do what you can, with what you have, in the time you have.” The surprising news? These daily exercise bursts have become more frequent since we adopted Chia.
Now when Chia yanks on my pant leg to go outside, I see it as an opportunity to do some more push-ups, squats, and stretches while incorporating her into my routine as much as possible. I’m not alone in this. According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, people can experience a boost in their fitness when they have a furry family member.
Our furry family member, Chia, is just 16 weeks old, and if you’ve ever trained a puppy you know it’s an around-the-clock commitment to set up routines and avoid accidents in your home.
After a few steps in pee puddles, I realized that if I took Chia outside to do her “business” every hour she’d quickly understand that my hardwood floors are not her toilet.
So while she sniffs around outside, I use those few minutes to fit in some push-ups and a few stretches on my back porch.
I began doing push-ups a couple of years ago when I realized that by committing to short durations of activity throughout my day, I could get results and feel better while doing what I would normally be doing.
For the past two years, I’ve aimed to do 10 push-ups before breakfast, 10 before lunch and 10 before dinner. This tallies 210 per week, 840 per month, 10,080 per year!
As Chia grows, I’m excitedly planning to introduce some doggie-friendly exercises. Here are a few that we’ll both benefit from soon:
Run/Walk Dog Walking
Interval training is great for your cardiovascular health and for your pooches. Depending on the fitness level of you both, run, then walk at intervals to raise your heart rates. Beginners can try running for 3 minutes and then walk for 1 minute. Aim for 15 to 20 minutes, three times per week.
If your dog loves a good nuzzle, pick her up and hold her tight while using the extra weight to add to your squat. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and watch your balance.
Tone your abs with the help of your furry friend. Hold her firmly under one arm, set your feet shoulder width apart and slowly bend side to side.
Push-ups with Your Pup
This is our fave. Chia often jumps on my back for the ride! She’s small right now, but in time she’ll add extra weight for me to strengthen my push-up.
Finding your dog’s inner calm is just as important as ensuring their physical activity. Lay out your yoga mat and do a series of yoga stretches with your dog nearby. Your deep breathing will set the tone for your pup’s relaxation.
Miranda Malisani is a holistic nutritionist, TV personality and mom of two. Her down-to-earth attitude, authentic passion and ability to simplify health information have made her a renowned professional in her field. Find her online at mirandamalisani.com; IG: @mirandamalisani; Twitter: @mirandamalisani; Facebook: facebook.com/nutritionistmir