A partner always makes a workout more fun, and there's no more eager buddy than your dog. Even better, the pooch is unlikely to complain about the weather or time of day, or to disparage your lack of trendy fitness gear.
Walking your dog is, of course, a great everyday way to get you both some exercise, but there's so much more you can try. Following are eight ideas for alternative ways to get fit together, from yoga to dancing to modern-day shepherding. Try a couple and see what works best for you both, though you may want to check in with your vet before launching a new routine for your pet. And remember: Dogs typically won’t reveal to you if they’re hurt or tired, so you need to keep an eye on your partner for signs of fatigue.
Downward Dog, With Your Dog
Does your dog stare at you quizzically from across the room while you go through your yoga poses? With doga, your pet can get off the sidelines and join you. Organized classes led by experienced, registered instructors are on the rise in many areas, so you may be able to find one near you. “Doga is about bonding with your dog and having fun while in a relaxed state,” says Nicole Vykoukal, founder of Austin Doga. Her classes feature a mix of yoga postures accessible to most fitness levels, combined with mindful breathing and plenty of canine interaction. Some postures involve owners holding or stroking their dogs; in some, dogs lie next to, or on top of, their human partners. “This is a great combination to achieve a relaxed, blissful state. Calming yoga resets your nervous system, while soothing both you and your dog," Vykoukal says. And good doga classes don't ignore the primary goal of helping human participants gain flexibility, muscle tone and balance.