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5 Ways I Accidentally Exercise With My Dogs

Does dancing with your dog count as a cardio workout? You bet your abs it does.

 |  May 13th 2013  |   10 Contributions

I loathe exercise. Hence, a lifetime of dieting. It recently occurred to me, though, that I have been accidentally exercising with my dogs for the past 10 years. Spot, Dolly, and I work muscles and burn calories together every single day.

Here are five ways we do it.

1. Scratching

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Spot thought bubble: Give me 10 more scratchies. You can do it!

Several times a day, Spot jumps up into my lap for scratchies. He likes me to scratch and rub the back of his neck, which requires me to flex my forearm muscles repeatedly until he tires of the attention. Who needs dumbbells when you have Boston Terriers?

2. Chasing

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Dolly thought bubble: Tag. You're it!

Dolly loves to chase me. In our current home, I have a clear, circular route -- once all of the toys have been picked up, that is -- through the living room, office, kitchen, and dining room. I change directions several times during a game of chase, which kind of makes it like sprinting, right? Sprints count as cardio!

3. Walking

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Spot thought bubble: Ready for your workout?

Of course I know that walking equals exercise, but I realized that the way we do it actually resembles the type of dance-aerobics classes I avoid because they make me feel out of shape and uncoordinated.

During our afternoon walk around the neighborhood, Spot and Dolly get to sniff and pee on whatever they like until we reach the halfway point. This keeps my arms and legs moving as I spin around and adjust leashes so no one trips. Lest you think I don't know how to "properly" walk my pups, on the way back we move briskly down the sidewalk without distraction.

4. Fetching

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Spot thought bubble: Throw it! You need the exercise, lady.

As I have written about several times before, Spot loves to fetch. We usually start with me sitting in my comfy patio chair, but eventually the ball gets so coated with slobber and dirt that I stand up to kick instead of throw it.

I alternate hands and feet during our game to avoid straining a particular side -- laugh all you like, but I still feel the Frisbee injury that happened two summers ago -- and I push my muscles to get him the distance he deserves.

5. Dancing

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Dancing cheek to cheek with my sweet Dolly girl.

I rarely dance in public, but we shake our groove thang all the time at home. Spot and Dolly bounce at my feet until one gets picked up to twirl with me from room to room. Spot weighs 21 pounds and Dolly just a bit more. How could my moves not count as exercise?

While I know that none of the above will help me drop a dress size, these activities do get me moving. Spot and Dolly enjoy them, too. Though, when Dolly hears the opening notes of "Dancing Queen" for the umpteenth time, I imagine her thought bubble says something like, "Enough with the disco! Can we get some JT, please?"

Let's hear from you, readers. Do you exercise with your dogs, accidentally or otherwise? Tell us all about it -- and post photos of your workout partners -- in the comments!

Looking for more stories about the lighter side of pet parenting? Check these out:


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