If you have a pet, you probably already exercise more than the average person. Dogs, especially, require several walks a day. But, if you’re going to be walking your pooch – why not maximize that fifteen-minute walk and shed inches from your waistline while at it?
Fit and Fabulous in fifteen-minutes! Seems impossible, right? But Teresa Tapp understands how a woman’s body works. An exercise physiologist, educator and fitness rehab specialist, she has spent the past 30 years creating a new work out regime that focuses more on inch loss rather than weight loss. And let’s face it – who cares what you weigh, so long as your hips are slimmer! Not only this, but the exercise is a rehabilitative approach to a healthy body, specifically for those folks with lower back, hip, knee, spine, neck and shoulder problems.
Teresa Tapp has another secret health weapon…her adorable Bichon, Buddy! Not only is Buddy her constant companion, but also her furry fitness friend and has been exercising with Teresa since he was four-months old! “Buddy loves joining in on the workouts! You’ll see that he sits on my back in a Sherpa bag in some of my videos,” says Teresa, “This not only strengthens our bond, but I notice that it brings others happiness as well! People sit up straighter and listen closer when Buddy is on stage with me.”
According to Ms. Tapp, shedding those inches is all about maximizing your workout! And the way to do that is by activating as many muscles as you can. Here are Teresa’s Top Tips for Exercising with your pet!
- When holding your dog’s leash, always aim your “thumbs away.” When your thumbs are aimed inward toward your body, you are more inclined to slump – just like how a chimpanzee walks with its palms back! “When you hold your thumb away it activates all those muscles attached to your shoulders and back.”
- Think ribs up! This allows more room for your internal organs and also tightens your stomach by stimulating your back and abs. “Gravity is always pulling muscles south,” says Tapp, “And so when you activate these muscles you’re resisting the gravitational pull.”
- Be sure to keep your toes forward. Humans have a natural tendency to flare their feet out, creating what Tapp calls the “duck walk.” And as you age, this can create a muscle imbalance in the knees, also known as “torque.” While walking, if you keep your toes forward you are neutralizing the muscles and getting an even balance of activation in the inner and outer knees.
- Distribute your weight onto your last three toes. We typically walk on the balls of our feet, right below our big toe. By shifting this weight, your arch will lift automatically triggering the muscles in the calves and increasing metabolic rate!
- Straighten your knees while walking for a full contraction and extension, maximizing muscle mechanic. This burns more fat and also offers lymphatic relief (which is how you get rid of toxins in your body).
- Lastly, Ms. Tapp encourages you to utilize your dog’s potty breaks by using this time to balance! Lift one foot slightly off the ground – but don’t forget to keep your butt tucked, your ribs up and your other knee bent!
The foundation of exercise starts at the foot and while walking your dog is a great way to exercise for the both of you, Teresa Tapp has a few other suggestions. “I use squats to play with Buddy! I squat down, get a kiss from my puppy, then come back up!”
Canines are also very job-oriented, especially the larger breeds. Anytime you can give your pooch a task, you are not only exercising them physically, but also mentally! It’s very important to stimulate your dog’s mind-body connection. “By throwing the ball different directions and different forces, you are creating variety in their exercise,” Says Tapp.
Essentially, animals and humans are similar in what they need and take away from exercise. As pet owners, we have a responsibility to our furry friend to provide everything possible for a well-rounded happy and healthy life. But what about yourself? You’re already outside and walking – go ahead and add these extra steps to your walk! Your hips will thank you later! And so will your stomach when you don’t feel guilty having that second helping of pie!