Fitness Tips I Learned from my Dogs: Importance of Rest

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Before we get to our post for today, we wanted to wrap-up our Summer 2014 K9Kamp and say how much fun it was to learn about all the different Backyard Fitness & Games you play with your dogs. We had a great turnout for Kamp with lots of different activities. Hooray for K9Kampers! We hope you all keep up the great fitness work and we look forward to seeing you in January.

Today we continue our “Fitness Tips I Learned from my Dogs” series. Thus far, we have written about having fun with fitness and the importance of variety when exercising. Today’s tip is about the importance of rest.


If you read my posts on a regular basis, you know that I enjoy exercising and staying fit. In my opinion, rest is one of the hardest things for me to incorporate into my weekly workout plans. My typical idea of rest is a 5 mile run. Heck, rest has always been a “four letter word” to me. Even worse, I have always had trouble relaxing and sitting still or quiet. But as I have observed my dogs over the years, I have started to recognize the value of rest and stillness as it relates to overall fitness and on field performance.


One of the most astute experts on rest, and the dog that has taught me the most about it, is Maggie. Maggie is a fearful (but improving) breeder mom that we rescued two years ago. Among her many quirky behaviors is an ability to flop on the floor, in virtually any position, and rest or sleep. Sometimes I wonder just how she is able to rest or sleep given the way her body is contorted in such strange ways. Yet, it seemed to me that she might be onto something as she has this uncanny ability to chill at a moment’s notice virtually anywhere.



This Fitness Tip Hits Home

Over the past 12 months or so, Maggie’s lessons have started to sink in to my hard headed brain. About 3 years ago, I started to practice yoga on a fairly regular basis. One of the hardest postures for me is the savasana, also known as dead body pose, where you are required to let go of all the tension in the body and completely relax on the ground for 20 seconds or more.   But this pose has improved a lot for me since we adopted Maggie. As I enter the pose, I have often found myself picturing (in my mind) Maggie flopped on the floor with not a single muscle tense and the floor completely supporting her body. Which is exactly the idea of savasana!


Value of Rest in a Fitness Program

Without proper rest and recovery, the body can be more susceptible to injury and poor performance. Learn from Maggie and incorporate rest into you and your dog’s fitness routines. Try these tips and see if you feel better and stronger after a few weeks.


Schedule Rest Days: Scheduling rest days can be crucial to allow your or your dog’s body time to heal and regenerate from the hard workouts you do. The experts are mixed on the timing, but most recent research that I have found supports the notion of a rest day on the day before your toughest workout.


Try Active Rest: Active rest is probably my favorite type of rest because it allows you to keep moving without stressing the body too much. A good example of active rest is incorporating cross training days into the schedule. Try a light weight workout on your days off from running. Or take your dog for a slower paced walk on their non-running days. Just make sure that the exercise is low intensity.


Learn Savasana: As Maggie has taught me, there is great benefit to the body and mind from just letting go and completely relaxing. Even short duration savasanas, lasting just seconds, or minutes, can provide a dose of rest and relaxation to the body and sharpen the mind. Try a Maggie style savasana one or two times during the work day as a quick break and as a way to recharge. Or, if you are like me, go for a short run first and then try a savasana!


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FitDog Friday 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!  


  1. If you need to learn to rest, it’s good you have a true master it in your house! That girl can REST, man! She’s so cute!

  2. Rest is one thing we all have well covered here… except Amelia. She doesn’t believe in resting!
    Bethany recently posted…The Grass Is Always Greener In Another Fit Dog’s BackyardMy Profile

  3. no one is a better relaxing teacher than a dog… or a cat… butt we still search where Easy has his “off” button
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog FRACTURED FRYDAY HAIRY TAILSMy Profile

  4. Hi Y’all!

    The body heals when you sleep.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Fractured Fryday Hairy Tails and Time for Parade of FitnessMy Profile

  5. This post is for me, finally we get to rest! Great information and collage of pictures. Thank you for kamp it was great. I’m going to go reSt now.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…FitDog Friday With A #K9Kamp FireMy Profile

  6. Good post because rest is important. Mom hasn’t been able to get interested in yoga yet, but we do agree on the rest thing. One day a week is a rest day, some days we work out more than others or cross train. If you never rest, you will end up injured and probably burn out at some point too.
    Emma recently posted…10 Reasons To Work Out With Your DogMy Profile

  7. Maggie thanks for teaching your dad to rest we understand how important it is too! Especially when you get older, like mom loves to swim but she knows she can’t do it every day. So she swims every other day to let her body recover. Thanks! Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…How Pets Help Seniors’ LivesMy Profile

  8. Rest is always doubly appreciated after a good romp. Dogs are experts on both ends.

  9. Oh my gosh, upside down Maggie is so precious! I agree – rest is important. I do one day off/one day on at the gym restarting my routine, or I will end up injured and not going for a week or similar. Learning from previous mistakes. Learning from dogs? Much less painful! Love these tips.
    Jen recently posted…Learning about the English Shepherd Versatility Awards ProgramMy Profile

  10. Those are wonderful shots of the gang at rest. I’m also a fan of the upside down sleep!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Fractured Fryday & Much MoreMy Profile

  11. Dogs are always up for a cuddle and a nap!

  12. Rest….now that is one thing we are good at ! BOLOLOL!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Pet Parading the Meow Box!My Profile

  13. My dogs tell me that they are never truly asleep for they are ever on guard against intruders. Should I believe them?
    jan recently posted…This is one of the best ideas I’ve seen in a long timeMy Profile

  14. Great post. A lot of people forget the importance of rest. We prefer active rest days. Long walks, hikes, swimming… anything different from our normal routine. Definitely gives the body a break.
    It’s Dog or Nothing recently posted…Writing Process TourMy Profile

  15. Love the photos of Maggie at rest! She is, as they say, a “Sack Artist”!
    Rachele Baker, DVM recently posted…“Pets Make Us Smile” Blog Hop with Linky List July 21-23, 2014My Profile

  16. Maggie has got that down to a science, doesn’t she? I don’t do a lot of intense workouts, but I have a lot of trouble just sitting still and relaxing. The dogs certainly don’t seem to have much trouble with that (except for Luke) concept though, after they’ve had a good play time they just flop down and have a rest! They even seem to be able to take an occasional day off if it’s raining, especially if that day comes after an especially busy one.
    Jan K recently posted…Summer K9 KampfireMy Profile

  17. We just nominated your blog for the Shine On Award! Check out our post to read about it

    We love to read all about your tips for having healthy and happy pets!
    MyDogLikes recently posted…All that Glitters is Gold(en)My Profile

  18. I loved Maggie’s demonstration pictures of the many styles of rest. She truly is a yoga master.

  19. I think rest may be my favorite part of working out! Another great session of K9 Kamp.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…K9 Kamp Around the Kampfire Blog HopMy Profile

  20. Great post! Rest, as well as just not overdoing it, is so important to keep you going for the long haul! Love the pics of Maggie at rest. She does it well!
    Diane recently posted…Gather ‘Round the K9 KampfireMy Profile

  21. Maggie is so cute. Love the way she just relaxes and lets go. None of mine sleep on their backs.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Hard WorkMy Profile

  22. Dogs are great companion for fitness. I was very lazy earlier and working out was never fun for me, but my dog has definitely shown me that being active can be fun.

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