How to Turn Walking Your Dog Into a Workout

When it comes to walking partners, it’s hard to beat your dog.

Your dog will never get caught in a meeting, cancel because of a cold or choose a must-see-TV marathon over a long walk. The fact that dogs love walks is good for humans, too.



A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that 60% of dog owners who took their dogs for regular walks met the minimum federal recommendations (150 minutes) for moderate exercise per week. And, thanks to Fido, almost half of dog walkers exercised at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Only 1/3 of non-dog owners got that much exercise.


Dogs influence more than the amount of activity you get each week. Researchers at the University of Missouri found that walking a puppy increased walking speed 28% compared with just a 4% increase when walking with a friend.


“Speaking from personal experience, when you have a dog as a running partner, you are more likely to stick to your own plan,” says Glenn Pierce, DogTown behavior consultant at Best Friends Animal Society.

Just as studies have shown cardiovascular exercise can alleviate mild to moderate depression in humans, Pierce notes that, in dogs, it can help with anxious behavior.


For short walks around the block, grabbing the leash and telling the dog it’s time to go is often enough. Going for longer walks (or runs) takes training — and a little caution.

“Someone who has never run before doesn’t start out doing five miles,” says Sharon Crowell-Davis, PhD, a veterinary behaviorist and professor at the University of Georgia. “You need to build your dog up to go longer distances.”

A Couch to 5K-like program is a great approach for training your dog to go longer distances or faster speeds: Start slow, integrating running intervals into your walks. Your dog will build up endurance gradually.


While dogs ranging from teacup Yorkies to Great Danes love to go for walks, some dogs were not made for distance or speed.

“You have to know your dog,” Crowell-Davis warns.

Short-legged dogs like dachshunds might have trouble keeping up; short-nosed breeds like pugs might have trouble breathing on a run; and older dogs and dogs with health issues like arthritis or hip dysplasia are better suited to leisurely strolls in the park rather than high-speed or long-distance jaunts.

Younger, active dogs in good health tend to be the best choices for long walks and runs. But puppies younger than 18 months, whose bones are still developing, are too young to safely run with you.

It’s a good idea to get the green light from your vet before signing up for a dog-friendly 5K, or just embarking on a running routine. “Just like you would do before you start an exercise regimen, it is crucial that you take your dog to your veterinarian, get a good physical and discuss your exercise goals,” says Pierce. “Your veterinarian can guide you how to build up to increase gradually.”


During a long walk or run, keep a close watch on your dog. If it starts to slow down, falls back, tries to make a break for the shade or lie down in the grass, it’s probably tired or overheated. Some panting is normal but excessive panting is a sign of exhaustion. “You need to watch for signs you’re pushing too hard,” Crowell-Davis says.

Most important, watch for signs that your dog likes running with you. It should act excited and ready to go when the leash comes out. If it hides at the sight of the leash or needs to be pulled along, it’s better to leave the dog at home.

“As long as your dog is raring to go and walking or running out in front of you or by your side, you’re good. If they are lagging or resisting, stop,” adds Pierce.


For longer walks, take extra water for the dog — you’re not the only one who needs to stay hydrated during exercise. If you’re walking at night, use a reflective leash or collar to make your dog more visible. After long walks or runs, check your dog’s paws for blisters (dogs can get them, too) and give it a break until they heal.

Long walks and runs are great exercise — for both you and the dog — and a fun way to spend time together.

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Why Your Workout Might Not Be Working

Let’s say that you and a friend are roughly similar in terms of eating habits, age, gender and weight, and you decide to buddy up on some serious spin class action. After a couple of weeks, you notice that she’s seeing major gains in strength, energy and body composition. Meanwhile, all you’ve got to show for it is a laundry hamper full of sweaty gym clothes. She’s crushing it, and you’re just feeling crushed. What gives?

One recent study may have the answer: You may be a nonresponder to the type of exercise you’ve just taken on, while your friend is a big-time responder.

Whether you’re just getting started on your fitness journey or you’re an athlete looking to avoid plateau, knowing whether or not you’re a responder can help quash frustration and lead you to activity that’s more your groove — with plenty of results along the way.


In the study, researchers recruited 121 sedentary, middle-age men and women with significant belly fat and had them complete five exercise sessions over a six-month period.

The types of exercises varied in terms of intensity and duration. What they discovered was that cardiorespiratory fitness increased for everyone to some degree but that results were uneven across each group. Some people simply responded better to the kind of exercise they were given than others.


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A number of those nonresponders did, eventually, begin to see more traction after a few months, but others didn’t see any improvement even after six months.

Lead researcher Robert Ross, PhD, at Queen’s University in London says that the “nonresponse” rate was about 30%. “That’s not a trivial amount,” he says. “That’s significant when you’re talking about whether you respond well to certain exercises or not.”

The study didn’t measure other potential results of fitness like lowered blood pressure, better insulin sensitivity or healthier cholesterol numbers. But even if it had, those advantages tend to fall away if someone decides to quit exercising from lack of results.


If you’re just starting to work out and you’re not seeing progress, it can be especially discouraging, says Aaron Leventhal, a certified personal trainer and owner of Fit Studios in Minneapolis.

“You might think that you’re the problem,” he says. “That puts you in danger of quitting altogether, when it’s more likely that you just need to change what you’re doing instead.”

For athletes that have seen results in the past, the chances of hanging up the gym towel are lower. But the frustration level can still be sky-high. “Every athlete knows what it’s like to hit a plateau,” notes Leventhal. “That’s when you have to really switch things up to get past it. You can’t push past a plateau by doing the same thing over and over and hoping that your body will catch on eventually.”

For both beginning exercisers and experienced athletes, his advice is the same: Set a baseline, track your results and mix up the training after two weeks if you’re not seeing changes.

Results might be less about physical shifts — like muscle gains or weight loss — and more about endurance, energy stability outside the gym, better sleep or an overall feeling of wellness. If you’re not getting any of that, change your activity and start over.

For example, stop going to spin class and start a weight lifting program, or ditch the treadmill and commit to kickboxing instead. Leventhal changes his own activity mix every two to three weeks to keep his training fresh and increase performance.

“When your body gets used to what you’re doing, that’s when it stops working as hard,” he says. “Keep it guessing.”

No matter where you are on your fitness track, just remember that change is a good thing — especially if you’re not responding to what you’re doing.


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5 Streaming Workout Classes to Try at Home

Whether you’re craving high energy hip-hop cardio dance or the latest barre workout, streaming classes make working out at home super-convenient. Ranging from workouts with celebrity trainers to actual classes with real students like you, having boutique fitness classes in the comfort of your living room — for a fraction of the price you’d pay in a studio — is like a dream come true. Even better, if you’re at all shy or self-conscious, these classes let you work out without anyone watching. If you haven’t explored streaming classes, it’s time to bust out of your fitness rut and try something new. Whatever you’re in the mood for, there’s a class for you just a click away.


I’m one of those unlucky people with no sense of left and right and garbage rhythm. I’ve always wanted to take a hip-hop dance class, but am way too worried about my lack of coordination. Thankfully, Amanda Robinson’s “Center Court Choreography” dance class on Crunch Live means I can dance as though nobody’s watching.

Combining cardio moves with choreography from the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets dancers, this class promises to torch tons of calories in just 30 minutes. It’s intense, and I found myself struggling to keep up as Robinson introduced me to moves like “the drop it low,” a series of side-to-side movements with chest bumps and arm swings that took me several repetitions to even kind of get right. Thankfully, it’s not about perfection. “Just have some fun! You’re getting some cardio in,” she tells viewers at home.

Crunch Live has a variety of streaming fitness classes by Crunch Gym instructors around the world. Try this insanely fun and intense workout with Crunch Live’s free 10-day trial.


For all the newbies to Buti Yoga, it isn’t like any yoga class you’ve ever tried before. Here’s a tip: Wait until you’re alone in your home to try these classes. Many of the moves resemble twerking and involve pelvic thrusting to playlists with the latest hip-hop and throbbing dance beats. That said, Buti Yoga is a killer workout — and it’s fun, too.

Gold shakes up your yoga practice, adding rhythmic circular movements and infusing her yoga practice with high-energy primal dance moves. Her informal, unconventional teaching style has earned her a major following. Expect to sweat during the workout and to have aching quads as you walk up and down stairs the next day.


Real Pilates instructor Alycea Ungaro’s “Top To Bottom Mat” video (available as part of a free trial of their streaming library) is perfect for anyone who wants to wake up their body after missing a few workouts or to slow things down and take their Pilates practice to a deeper level. Ungaro pays close attention to form, constantly switching up the alignment and rhythm of each movement to challenge the body and keep participants from cheating by relying too much on momentum.

“When you get used to your practice, one rhythm change, one tempo change, one isolation is mind-blowing,” says Ungaro in the video. Expect to build slowly to a burn, as you do a series of moves isolating your deep abdominal muscles. As I watch Ungaro carefully adjust each of her students, I can’t help but wish I was in her class in real life. But I’ll settle for the next best thing at home on my mat.


“You are feeling that burn,” says Katie Mitchell, a master trainer for Physique 57, during her Cardio Sculpt: Lower Body workout. “That means that you are literally feeling your body change.” With studios in the Hamptons, Beverly Hills, New York City and Bangkok, Physique 57 is one of the more challenging barre classes out there, and this particular class is no exception. I couldn’t help but marvel at how Mitchell and the two trainers working out alongside her managed to demonstrate the moves without looking remotely flustered or losing their picture-perfect smiles. My legs shook beneath me as I clung to the kitchen counter (my at-home substitute for a ballet barre), gritting my teeth.

One of the unique elements of Physique 57’s streaming classes — which you can try for free for a week — is that you can pair them with diet and fitness plans to achieve your goals. For instance, this workout is part of their “Lose 10 in 10” program and comes with meal suggestions and a schedule of workouts and rest days to help you lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.


YogaGlo (which offers a 15-day free trial) offers a huge range of yoga classes for pretty much anyone including people who might not normally do yoga regularly in a group setting: runners, new moms, cyclists and men.

In Chelsey Korus’s “Drop That Beat” vinyasa flow class I connect to my breath, moving fluidly through a series of warrior-centered postures, as Korus urges viewers to tune in to the present moment and empty our minds of nagging thoughts. Korus offers helpful visual cues, coaxing you to imagine things like squishing “a grape between your tailbone and the floor.” As the class winds to an end, we massage our low backs on the floor and shake our legs to stimulate our circulation. I feel so zen when I’m done it’s almost like she was in the room with me.


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This Week in Health & Fitness: Tried the Toilet Paper Workout?

You’re looking for inspiration, and we’re here to provide it with a new edition of “This Week in Health & Fitness.” Every other week, the Under Armour Connected Fitness editorial team hand-curates the biggest stories, trends and goings-on around the world that will help you on your quest to live a healthy lifestyle. Enough with the warm-up, let’s get to work!

Behold, the Toilet Paper Workout

File this under “exercising any time, anywhere, with anything.” A Seattle personal trainer developed a Tabata-based home workout using — you guessed it — rolls of toilet paper, which she posted to her Instagram account. And it’s got upwards of 775,000 views. Admit it, you’re fascinated. Want the full workout? She spells the whole thing out in Shape magazine.

Is Your City Healthy?

Last month, we detailed how one study calculated the most popular American cities for active millennials. But are they the healthiest cities? Here’s another study that took into account 34 different indicators — such number of doctor visits, amount of veggies consumed and fitness clubs per capita — and ranked the 150 healthiest cities in America. Where does your town rank?

Who’s the Fittest? Twitter Knows

Data is objective by nature. How you interpret it is another story — and this one is a blast: This study looked at Twitter activity to figure out which states were burning and eating the most calories. Quick summary: There’s a huge concentration of runners in Colorado … and bacon eaters in South Dakota.

Tweet Your Way to Diet Success

Speaking of Twitter indicators, are you tipping your hand at how dedicated you are to your diet? A team of Georgia Tech researchers believe they can predict your success rate with 77% accuracy based on your tone and word choice when you tweet. Better get moving on your #MondayMotivation.


If This Is a Fad Diet, Count Us Out

One thing we won’t recommend: swallowing a balloon for weight loss. That’s the premise of a new technique that aims to gradually shrink your stomach. One participant tells her story to Time magazine. We will repeat: We do not believe in get-thin-quick solutions. But we do believe in marveling at how people put themselves through almost anything.

The Best Fast Food in America

Need hard proof as to why fast food is often a poor choice? The folks at The Ringer ranked their top 50 fast-food items, and while the research was probably pretty fun, our eyes are bulging at the calorie counts. Two wit: Just one bacon cheeseburger from Five Guys gets you two-thirds of the way to the total MyFitnessPal-recommended daily calorie count. As if you needed us to tell you to eat with caution.

Bookmark These Health Gurus

OK, back to the healthy role models. Check out this exhaustive list of the 100 most influential people in health and fitness by Greatist. Special shoutout to our Under Armour representation: Misty Copeland, Kathryn Budig, Todd Durkin, Tom Brady and, of course, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.


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Live From San Quentin

There are running crews and then there are running crews. Check out this fascinating look at the 1,000 Mile Club, the official running club of San Quentin State Prison in Northern California. And yes, they even run marathons.

The Kindness of Strangers

We’ve got another feel-good story for you, this one of a man who left a cold water bottle out for a stranger who just happened to run past his house in Virginia nearly every morning for six straight months. “Because of him, I push myself a little harder,” she says.

Age Is Just a Number, Part 4

You love tales of people defying Father Time, and so do we. This time around, it’s a sprint between a 99-year-old and a 92-year-old at the Masters Indoor Track Championships. We think they’re both winners — and we are inspired to get moving immediately.

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