Pet Fit

Living an active lifestyle is, as you know, important for heart health, keeping us trim, and able, and young.  But, it’s also important for our pets to keep active as well.

dog gym

I am the first to admit that I have a big, fat cat.  My boy is an inside house cat, and therefore he is definitely not as active as he should be by nature.  Therefore, I do my best to have exercise time with him.  This includes playing hide-and-seek (he loves to pounce on me) and also taking him outside on his leash during the Spring, Summer, and Fall (in Nova Scotia winters the poor guy would disappear in the snow!).

Winston Outside

*sigh* Sometimes he strolls, sometimes he sits there and glares at me. #attitude

In addition to my cat, I am also Auntie to a friend’s dog (remember Dora from my last post?).  Dora and I have been hiking and walking quite a bit since the Spring and her dog, Layla, now associates me with walk time.

Three Amigos

The Three Amigos: Dora, Layla, and me on one of our evening strolls

It’s actually really sweet.  Whenever I step onto the threshold of Dora’s house, Layla goes crazy, jumping around, scattering around the house, and jumping as high as she can to give me kisses before we head out.

Hike dog

Sweet Layla

Dora and I make as many dates as we can through the week to get together to walk Layla. We have a great time, and in addition to Layla getting some workout time in, Dora and I get to improve our fitness as well.  Layla also gets walks in the morning before Dora heads to work.

Besides walking the dog, Dora is certain to include Layla in her other fitness adventures.  As I mentioned, they go hiking, and swimming, and running on the beach.

Beach Dogs

Layla and a friend on the beach

There are so many ways to incorporate your pets into your fitness regime.  And this doesn’t just go for dogs.  If you have a cat, and depending on its personality, you can take your cat hiking, walking, and sometimes even swimming.

My Aunt Donna can attest to this.  If you recall, Donna did a guest post for me last year. Donna had her second spinal surgery just a few weeks ago.  After her first spinal surgery several years ago when she was living in Vancouver, she got herself a new kitten, Ms. Coco Chanel.  Coco was and is very much a therapy cat.  When Donna returned home from the hospital post-surgery, to ensure she would get up and out, instead of remaining sedentary, she started taking Coco for walks.

Little Coco

Little Coco

These walks have become a way of life for both Donna and for Coco.  Coco loves her strolls and her hikes and they keep both her and Donna active.  Even when Donna is having a high-pain day, she turns to Coco to ensure they both get out for their stroll.  Coco has climbed trees and hiked trails and strolled beaches.

Blue Coco

Blue 2

Coco loves nature and she always stops to smell the roses Lady Slippers

There are many other things to do with your pets to keep them active:  throw balls or a Frisbee, use a laser light or other toy, chase them (Layla loves this!), you can even invest in pet fitness equipment.  My boyfriend’s father takes the dogs for at least one swim a day during the summer.  And the dogs love him for it.

There are so many ways to keep your pets active and doing so can help improve their health, longevity, agility, and overall life.  So, the next time you’re heading out for a hike, why not leash up your buddy and take him with you.  Or include him in the family swim.

And, in the meantime, check out PuppySpot. They’re a community of dog lovers who place healthy puppies into happy homes. They were kind enough to provide this awesome infographic for you all.

puppyspot_fido_fitness_x2_v02

~FB

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My Saturday Morning Workout

Lately, I have been killing it at the gym and in my classes.  I have been expanding my horizons and trying all sorts of different exercises and techniques and really working on improving my form and overall fitness level.  I have totally upped the ante.

I’m a huge fan and supporter of body-weight exercises.  In fact, it’s what my boot camp classes are based on.  No equipment.  100% body weight.  My family fitness classes are similar, but often we will bring out some equipment to keep the younger participants keen (although, let me just say that the kids are LOVING this program, and if you don’t think your kids would be interested in fitness and exercises, try working out with them!).  In my family fitness classes I have used jump ropes, hula hoops, and a few balls.  And aside from gliders (which are TOTALLY body-weight exercises) that’s the only equipment I’ve ever used in any of my classes.

My gym workouts and my at-home workouts, however, are an entirely different story. I try and utilize as much equipment as I can at the gym – things I can’t use at home, like the rowing machine, the Smith machine (be still my beating heart), heavier weights, even a Bosu ball (for burpees – again, a body-weight exercise).

Until recently, a lot of my home workouts were body-weight based: doing some of my boot camp classes, or videos like any of the Insanity series, P90-X, Jillian Michaels, etc.  But since I got my dream boxing bag for Christmas, I’ve been using that a lot as part of my home exercise, and often incorporating weight-lifting, and running the stairs into the routine.

Today was a gorgeous day in Nova Scotia; it has been sunny and warm and it truly feels like the start of an early spring (we’re gearing up for some snow tomorrow though.  Bummer.), so I took advantage of the sunshine this morning and moved part of my workout outside – coming back inside for other parts of the workout that I wasn’t able to access in the fresh air.

A few years ago I found a bombdiggity weighted jump rope at a local store.  I loved it so much that I went back and bought the remaining ropes.  Seriously.  I have a small stock, just in case.  I also bought one for my boyfriend so that we can both take advantage of the awesomeness.

weighted-jump-rope

For my warm up I brought the rope outside and skipped away.  It was so wonderful to be able to warm up outside.

Oustide jump rope

This was basically me this morning. (via Yahoo)

Once warmed up I moved back inside so that I could do a boxing workout.  I boxed my butt off to some upbeat music, while doing burpees and squats in between.

boxingbag

Just call me Rocky Balboa

I also took advantage of my resistance bands and my newest obsession, my suspension training system.

Squat Row

Resistance bands are really just as good as weights – and certainly more mobile. (via Google)

I did a bunch of variations using the resistance bands – from squat rows to bicep curls to overhead extensions.  I did it all.

I took my suspension training system outside and channeled my inner Candace and inner Norman and performed different variations of exercises, such as: mountain climbers, chest press and fly, to the full body row (below), planks with a leg extension.

Suspension Candace

Candace Cameron Bure (and Kira Stokes) via Instragram

Norman Reedus Suspension

Norman Reedus via Men’s Fitness

I did circuits of all of these exercises, moving from inside to outside and enjoying every bit of it.

You don’t need a lot of money or a gym membership or even a lot of equipment to get in shape.  If you’re not into body-weight training – or want to move outside that realm for some of your workouts, invest in a few small pieces of fitness gear: resistance bands usually run between $10 and $30, smaller weights can be purchased fairly cheap at places like Canadian Tire and Walmart, weighted jump ropes can be picked up pretty much anywhere, including some discount and dollar stores.  Suspension Training Systems can be pricey.  Mine was an investment that I decided to go ahead with since I can use it personally and for my clients and, well, because #obsessed.  My boxing bag was a Christmas gift and something I’ve been wanting for many years.  It too was an investment (gifted to me), but you don’t necessarily need a boxing bag to enjoy a boxing workout.  There’s nothing wrong with shadow boxing or cardio boxing <- those will definitely get your heart pumping.

And all of the above (minus an actual boxing bag) are mobile items.  So you can move your workouts outside, or pack your gear when you’re vacationing, or even take with you to a friend’s house so that you can exercise together.

The ultimate goal would be to take advantage of both body-weight training and inexpensive workout gear.

~FB