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Pet-Owner Fitness

Health Benefits of Having a Four-Legged Friend

The next time you’re in search of a fitness partner to help keep you motivated and on track – look to one of the most important members of your family…your dog!

Did you know that dog owners are more likely to exercise daily than non-dog owners? A study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health reported that dog owners are 34 percent more likely than non-dog owners to get the exercise they need. 

“Owning a dog has been a great motivator to help keep me active,” said Stacy Vogel, a Bridgman resident who regularly walks her dog Dozer. “Dogs truly are judgment free – they don’t care how fast you’re walking, what you look like, or what you’re wearing. Dozer also has a special way of letting me know if he feels I’m ignoring our time together and holds me accountable to our daily walks.”

What type of exercises can you do with your dog?

Walking or running outside or playing catch are great ways to burn calories and improve your dog’s mental health by stimulating their sense of smell. You can also try cardio and strength exercises to get both of your hearts pumping such as:

Reverse Lunges
  • With your dog sitting down in front of you, lower your body into a lunge as if you were kneeling down on one knee. Then, ask your dog for its paw to shake. Alternate sides.

Reverse Lunges while shaking dogs paw


Side Shuffles
  • With your dog on a leash, shuffle from side to side across the floor or ground, having your dog travel with you.

  • Ask your dog to sit or lay on the ground while you perform as many push-ups as you can. Then, have your dog do “doggy push-ups” where you have them sit, lay down, and sit again.



Be sure not to overexert yourself or your pets when you’re exercising. There are some telltale signs that you and your dog should slow down, such as if you’re too breathless to carry on a conversation, or your dog is panting heavily or refuses to follow you.

Join the Conversation

Use #GetFitInTheMitt to share photos of how you and your dog get moving during the summer months!

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