4 fun ways to work out with your pet

June 30, 2015

Here are some fun games you can play to spend some quality time with your pet while you get the exercise that's so important when you have diabetes.

4 fun ways to work out with your pet

Get moving with your pet

Besides being your best friend, pets are great companions to work out with. Their energy and delight in spending time with you can inspire you to get moving.

1. Challenge your dog to tug-of-war

If you have a large dog, you can get a pretty good workout this way.

  • Teach Spot to tug on one end of a length of rope while you hold the other. Holding your elbow at your side, slowly raise your hand to your shoulder and lower it again (the bicep curl motion).
  • When your bicep (the muscle on the front of your upper arm) tires, exercise the tricep (the muscle on the back): Starting with your arm straight down at your side, move your hand backward, pulling on the rope, and then return your hand to the starting position.
  • When your arm tires, switch to your other arm and repeat both exercises.

2. Play hide-and-seek

  • Give your dog a command to stay in the kitchen, and then go hide elsewhere in the house — behind the couch, behind a door or in a closet, for instance.
  • Then call your dog. If he obeyed the "stay" command until you called and was able to find you, give him a treat.
  • A few rounds of hide-and-seek will reinforce your pet's training and give you a bit of exercise to boot.

3. Offer 15 minutes of "fetch"

Identify a stretch of the room that's at least three metres long, preferably 4.6 to 6 metres.

  • Stand at one end of this "runway," and toss a toy or ball for your dog (or cat, if it's willing). Choose an item that won't harm the floor, walls or furniture — preferably one that makes noise.
  • Most pets will get the hang of this game quickly and return the ball to you again and again.
  • Every time you receive the ball, do a knee-bend as you take it from the dog's mouth.

Your dog may be doing more work, but the throwing, bending and reaching is doing you some good as well.

4. Play "fish" with your kitty

Go to the pet store and buy a "cat-fishing" rig — a yard-long plastic rod with a string on one end that dangles a feathery toy.

  • When you get home, stand in the living room holding the rod and letting the toy rest against the floor. Your cat will creep towards the toy. Test your own reflexes against your kitty's. Can you snatch the toy away just before she pounces?
  • You can alternate between tapping the toy on the floor and dangling in the air to give Muffy her exercise.

With these easy and fun games, you and your pet will get some of the exercise you both need to feel your best.

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