“Mommy and Me” Exercises You Can Do with Your Pet
By Joanne Thomas, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor
Legions of moms and babies love “Mommy and Me” fitness classes. Mom brings baby along, and baby is sometimes used as the “weight” as Mom does simple strength training moves to tone her body. For other exercises, baby just needs to relax and be entertained while Mommy does all the work.
Mommies and daddies of “fur babies” and their pets can also enjoy this fun style of exercise too! Here are our three “fitness models” to show you how: Blackjack the Schipperke, Bandit the tuxedo cat, and Easter Joy the bunny.
Before we begin, here are some tips for your pet’s safety, and for yours too:
Blackjack is the perfect Pet-Cer-Cise pup, because he’s small, easily handled, and oh-so-cooperative. Before trying this workout, please consider your dog’s weight, temperament, and tolerance for handling.
Pet-Cer-Cise is generally fun and safe for calm, cuddly cats like Bandit. But most small pets like rabbits are too delicate to act as “weights.” Bunnies and some cats may prefer to be part of the action, but not lifted, as Easter demonstrates.
Of course, all exercises may not be suitable for all mommies and daddies. As with any fitness program, it’s important to get your doctor’s approval before you begin.
Your goal should be to perform one set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. But if you poop out, or your pet poops out (or has to go poop), stop right there! As you become stronger and your pet becomes a more enthusiastic exercise partner, add more repetitions and sets.
Also, keep in mind that to burn fat and lose weight, you and your pet need to do regular cardiovascular exercise, in addition to the Pet-Cer-Cise moves. Take your dog for a long brisk walk. Play chase games with your cat. Let your bunny hop and run in a safe place, under your supervision. And don’t forget to take a cue from your pet and s-t-r-e-t-c-h often!
And now, here are the Pet-Cer-Cises! To contact Joanne, please visit www.fitnyc.com and www.nystrechexchange.com.
Cuddle & Chest Press
Tones chest and triceps
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor, and pet resting on your chest. Exhale and lift pet over your chest, extending your arms. Focus on contracting the “cleavage” muscles of your chest. Then inhale and return pet to your chest.
“Kiss the Baby” Push-up
Complete toning for the upper body
Begin on hands and knees, with pet on the floor, below your face. Place hands on floor, a little wider than your chest. “Walk” your knees back about 12 inches. Perform push-ups, inhaling and kissing your pet on the way down and exhaling on the way up.
Ballet Plie’ Avec Animale
Tones inner thighs; tightens and lifts derriere
Stand with legs wide apart, feet turned out holding pet safely and securely in your arms. Keeping chest and chin lifted, inhale, bend knees and squat down so that your derriere goes almost low enough to be even with your knees. Exhale and return to starting position, squeezing your derriere.
Booty Blast – Need we say more?
Tones butt and hamstrings
Begin on hands and knees, with pet on the floor, below your face. Place wrists in line with shoulders and knees in line with hips. Extend your right leg straight back behind you. Squeeze your booty as you lift your leg, and visualize lengthening the leg when you extend it. Gently say your pet’s name and make the affectionate sounds your pet enjoys, as you perform the movement. Repeat with left leg.
Off the Wall Wonder –Works it all!
Butt, hips, thighs!
Stand against a wall, holding pet. Position your feet about 15 inches away from the wall, hip-width apart. Leaning your upper body against the wall, drop into a squat position, lowering your hips so they are even with your knees. Hold this “wall sit” as long as you can. Then return to starting position.
“Poochy” Belly Be gone!
Flattens the stomach
Lie on your back with knees bent and legs lifted toward your chest. Hold pet in position atop your lower legs on the area between your knees and ankles. Exhale and bring your knees to your chest, lifting your butt off the floor. At the same time, lift your head and shoulders off the floor, and pull your belly button in, toward your spine. Don’t use momentum! This should be a slow and controlled movement. Inhale and return to starting position.
For a healthy back and strong abs
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Position your pet to rest below your waist. Exhale, squeeze your buttocks and slowly lift your pelvis and back off the floor. Hold the
position as long as you comfortably can. Release slowly and return to starting position.