According to the 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 67% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 84.9 million homes. Of the 67% of pets, a whopping 63% are dogs. That means that 6 out of 10 people reading this have a dog and have probably taken their canine companion on a walk. I’m going to walk you through the full-body workout that I engage in each morning with my dogs.
I am the mom of 3 German Shepherds. If you have ever lived with one, then you are aware that they are known for their courage, loyalty, and guarding instincts. They also need a job to do so they don’t succumb to boredom and chew the leg off your kitchen chair or empty the stuffing out of your sofa cushions.
My German Shepherds have taken the initiative of creating a job for themselves by waking me up each morning at 7:15am. They have a process of licking my face and burrowing their heads under my head until I regain consciousness. This job happened organically, and I eventually transitioned from using my phone as an alarm, to completely relying on my dogs to wake me up.
Another job they have is reminding me that it’s time for their morning walk. After I’m finished drinking my coffee at my desk, the dogs start nudging my arm while I’m answering a barrage of emails from the night before. They are persistent and will not stop until I harness them up.
My morning workout starts with squats. As I clip on each harness, I’m squatting down, while at the same time, using my balance to stay on my feet as the other 2 dogs wildly jump around, bump into me and bark in my ears, as a product of their excitement and anticipation of our walk.
Next, I move to bicep curls. We calmly walk out the front door, where we are greeted with all the wonderful morning smells and beautiful Florida weather. Immediately the 2 white German Shepherds, named Lily and Bella, make a beeline into the bushes to eat the leaves, while my other dog, named Aidan, pulls in the opposite direction to check out the front yard for intruders. For about one minute I engage in yanking Lily and Bella with my left arm and Aidan with my right arm to finally guide them down the sidewalk to start our walk. All of this yanking equates to about 10 bicep curls per arm. By this time, I have pools of sweat under my arms and across my forehead.
Knee lifts are next and can be accomplished walking down the sidewalk. Actually, knee lifts are mandatory because Lily and Bella get distracted easily and run after anything that moves. Chasing a squirrel or a butterfly ends up with my legs getting tangled up in the 3 leashes. Each entanglement requires at least 5 knee lifts per leg, per instance.
My core or abdominal muscles are engaged the entire time that we are walking. I call it walking, but I’m guessing that bystanders would call it being dragged. It takes all of my concentration to keep one foot in front of the other without falling on my face.
Lastly is my forearm workout. Bella and Aidan have a never-ending competition to see who will lead the pack, which forces me to constantly correct them by pulling backward and yelling “stop pulling!”. If I don’t have a firm hold on their leashes on the pull-back, they will just continue moving forward with the persistence of an Olympic runner at the finish line.
20 minutes later, we make it back into the house, where the dogs immediately jump into the pool to cool off. I fall into a chair to catch my breath and unwrap the leashes from around my ankles. Did I mention that walking is good cardio?
As the Founder and CEO of World For Good, Jennifer Moreau-Chick helps readers learn about how to elevate social and environmental sustainability in the business community so companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. She has been featured in Conscious Company Magazine as a leader in social impact and has worked as a Marketing Director for 3 certified B Corporations for the past four years. Visit her blog here.