Fit Dog Fitness Tips: Add Intensity for a Boost
Doing similar workouts each day can lead to boredom, both mentally and physically, for both you and your dog. Most of us get into daily routines and habits and if we aren’t careful, we end up doing the same exercises at the same intensity for days if not weeks in a row. Although this is certainly better than skipping your and your dog’s daily exercise, we recommend mixing in some more intense sessions every so often to keep things interesting and your bodies fit. We were reminded of this recently by our Pilates instructor who suggested that next week’s workout be a “no springs day”.
No Springs Day for an Intense Workout
No springs day has nothing to do with the seasons nor with the source of drinking water. It is a reference to a piece of Pilates equipment, called the Wunda Chair, that is used to perform some pretty serious exercises.
For some background, the Wunda Chair is a small bench with springs that are used to add assistance and enable Pilates students to perform a series of body weight movements that they would otherwise be unable to perform. As the student progresses, they are (in theory) able to lower the springs and thus force the athlete to use more and more of their body weight.
During the end of a recent Pilates workout, a circuit of pretty intense movements using six different pieces of equipment including the Wunda, my instructor made the suggestion that next week would be no springs day. She said this while I was wiping the sweat off of my brow and the floor- evidence that I was working hard with the springs. I just smiled and nodded my head. After all, it had been awhile since I went “no springs” and I figured it would be great to amp up the intensity and keep me motivated and challenged.
Making your Dog’s Workout Intense and Interesting
The idea of a no springs day can easily apply to your dog’s workout. No, I am not suggesting that your dog gets on the Wunda Chair, although I am sure some of you have dogs that could do so. Rather, I am recommending that you mix in some higher intensity surprises every now and then to keep the both of you from slipping into boredom. Here are some suggestions on how to do that:
- Run faster. For those runners out there, try increasing your normal pace as much as your dog can handle. SlimDoggy Jack and I will normally run 3-4 miles at about 9 minutes per mile. Every now and then, especially when we both seem to feel fresh, we will try and cut a minute per mile off of our pace. Jack actually seems to enjoy it. At least when we are done.
- Mix in sprints. Another option is to mix in short intervals of sprints throughout the run. Try to hold the sprint for at least 50 yards or more. These can really amp up your heart rates.
- Walk or hike faster. Speeding up your walking pace is an easy way to up the intensity of your workout. Keep your dog’s leash ‘short’ and establish a brisk tempo from the start so that your dog can quickly come to understand your intention. I bet they will appreciate the challenge.
- Add a new movement to the routine. Adding a new movement can really challenge your dog both mentally and physically. Try some of the exercises that we have recommended in the past. For example, the Labby Limbo, the Elevated Touch, or some core work. Or try some new agility drills.
- Add a new route to the run/walk. Simply mixing up the location can bring about renewed enthusiasm, for both you and your dog. This can often translate to a more intense experience and will definitely keep things from getting boring.
- Play some fun and intense games. Try adding a game of chase or fetch after your regular walk. Most dogs love these games and they provide them with short bursts of intensity. Even better, get involved yourself and run around like a kid.
Try adding some new elements or intensity (or both) to your dog’s workout 1-2 times per month in order to achieve the benefits of increased calorie burn and fitness.
What do you do to keep your dog’s workouts interesting? Have you consciously tried to mix in a no springs type of day into the weekly routine? Maybe if enough of you are committed, we can have a no springs FitDog Friday and kick some collective ass (together).Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below - lots of fun fitness tips and advice!