Category Archives: Fitness

Dogs Know Best: 5 Dog Stretches You Should Do Too

A Dog Knows BestHave you ever noticed how our dogs stretch when they first wake up, or they twist their bodies into the oddest positions while upside down on the floor? Or, how they will stretch out their legs and back before they get out of bed. If only we were as smart as dogs!

Stretching comes natural to furry friends. However, we humans often need a little reminder. Unfortunately, it often comes in the form of an injury and a doctor’s orders. Sometimes we are so bad at it, we have to actually go to a class that forces us to stretch, bend and move – or we won’t do it at all.

If we watch out dog, we could learn a little something.

5 great dog stretches you should do too.

Click on the exercise for video instruction.

1. Upward facing dog
Stretches the low back, abdominals, hips, pelvis and tops of feet, while strengthen in your chest and arms.

upward facing dog

#2 Inner Thigh Stretch
Stretches the inner thighs and helps prevent groin injuries as well as improve athletic performance and mobility with even simple tasks like walking, swimming and running.

funny-dog-stretching-its-legs

#3 Hamstring Stretch
This exercise stretches the back of thighs and helps improve posture due to tight leg muscles. Often times when the back of the thighs are tight, we bend with our back to enable us to reach for the floor, or for something as simple as reaching for the gas pedal. Flexible hamstrings allow us to bend safely from the hips, so we don’t compromise our back.

stretching

4. Crossover Stretch 
This therapeutic stretch is a staple exercise given to many patients in physical therapy to loosen the lower back and hips. 

crossover stretch

5. Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog is an excellent core exercise that stretches the hamstrings, calves and achilles, as well as challenging the core and arms. The key is to keep your heels pressed down to the ground and your back nice and straight so you are in a perfect upside down V. 

27e5ed90cea3547059ea0b061cc3d4d8

Do you have a favorite dog stretch or dog stretching picture?

 

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Doggie Diet Tips: Improve Your Dog’s Good Looks

great dane dogWhen I got Marley I noticed faint thinning patches of hair. Most people probably wouldn’t notice, but I could tell his hair should be shinier and even fuller than it was.

Since he LOVES to swim and play in the water, I was also worried his many baths would dry him out. So, I asked my doggie experts at Pawprints what I could do to help his coat.

While their first response was diet, they wanted to make sure I wasn’t making things worse by bathing him too often (which I admit I was doing). They know how much he likes to swim, and recommended only rinsing him off without shampoo after his swims. They said to only bathe him once or twice a month at the most. Good to know!

Solution #1

blue buffalo dog foodThey had 2 main suggestions. First up was food. They asked me was what kind of food he was eating. His last owner had him on Pedigree, so I’m in the process of gradually switching him over and blending that food with his new Blue Buffalo food (a grain free higher quality food, which he LOVES by the way). This brand came highly recommended by the Pawprints staff, and to be honest, I just had to trust them because I knew NOTHING!

After I bought it, I came home and did more research to get a better understanding of what he was eating. I was very pleased with what I found online. They even had a handy-dandy brand comparison chart (at the bottom of the blog) so I could compare brands. Granted, I’m sure there are several excellent grain-free foods out there, I’m happy I found one of them!

Solution #2

fish oilWhile nutrition is great, sometimes (like humans) pets can benefit from taking supplements. Pawprints experts suggested adding fish oil to his diet. They said I could just break open a capsule and pour it over his food. Well, thanks to GNC, I had a TON of excellent fish oil supplements at home, so I couldn’t WAIT to get started.

Marley LOVES the fish oil and can’t wait for me to add it to his food – and I can’t wait to see the results!

According the the Canine & Conditioning Rehabilitation Group, to calculate the correct dose, multiply your dog’s weight by 20. That is how many milligrams your dog should be getting. For Big Mar, that’s 3,000mg daily. After I use up my surplus of GNC fish oil, I’ll likely switch to a super concentrated fish oil made for dogs.

Benefits Include:

  • Healthy skin & glistening coat
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased stamina
  • Improved the immune system
  • Decreased shedding
  • Adds moisture to dry, irritated skin

Visit CRCG to learn more benefits of adding fish oil to your doggie’s diet.

PFIT TIP:

Great daneHow many dog owners actually take BETTER care of their dog than they do their own bodies?! (Meeeee!!!) If fish oil does all these great things for dogs, don’t you know they would benefit the dog owner too? I am a firm believer in supplements, however, I’m so forgetful. I have a hard time remembering to take them. It’s funny, I haven’t forgotten to give him his fish oil once.

Today, I am going to commit to the two of us taking our supplements together!

Click HERE to learn more about what fish oil can do for YOU!

Blue Buffalo Food Comparison

Blue Buffalo

Workout Like a Dog

mountain climbersWhether you have an injury or you just want to do some serious core work, there are a TON of exercises that you can do on all fours. Yes, you can truly still workout like a dog! The following exercises combine a cardiovascular exercise with a isometric hold exercise. You’ll never breathe so heavy and feel muscle burn doing nothing. OK, you are doing SOMETHING – you are trying not to let your body fall to the floor, but for staying still, these exercises will kick your butt. Modify exercises by moving from hands to your elbows if needed.

Grab your Gymboss Interval Timer, and set it for 30 seconds ON and 30 Seconds off. Do each each exercise in each couplet back to back with no rest. Take no more than 15 seconds rest between couplets. During the ACTION exercise, perform each rep as fast as you possibly can, as if racing. During the HOLD exercise, do everything you can to maintain good form, without letting your knees hit the ground. After the warm-up, repeat the workout 2 times for beginners, 4 times for advanced. If you want to pump it up even more, go for a full 1 minute for each exercise or drop the 15 seconds rest. Let me know how you do by commenting below. 🙂

Ever wonder what muscles are working when you are in plank? Here’s a cool illustration to show the muscles engaged. Now, get ready to workout your entire core – chest, back, shoulders, abs and obliques – and not to mention your heart and lunges! Prepare to SWEAT!

plank

Cardio & Core on the Floor

TIP: Click on the exercise to see video demonstrations.

Warm Up:
Push-ups
Hop Over
3 Times

Workout:
ACTION: Plank Jax
HOLD: Plank (preferably on hands. Elbows is a mod)

ACTION: Mountain Climber
HOLD: Two-point Bridge (hold each side for 5 seconds, 10 seconds for advanced)

ACTION: Surfers
HOLD: Plank Up-down

ACTION: Rotational Push-ups
HOLD: Side Plank (Right, next round do Left)

ACTION: Squat Thrusts
HOLD: Pulse Side Plank (Right, next round do Left)

15 Ways Fido Keeps You Fit

Marley Mantel Great DaneSome of you may have noticed I have a new addition to the family. (I almost feel sorry for my Facebook and Instagram friends who have to endure the million pics I’ve been posting! Sorry guys!) However, if you were one of the lucky ones who’s newsfeed hasn’t been filled up with all my pictures, and you are in the dark, I am now the proud mother to a 10 month old baby boy.

He’s just a baby, but he is already about 30″ tall and weighs 130lbs. He may not be human, but he thinks he is. My big new baby is a Great Dane Puppy, named Marley Beaux (Bo). (We are experimenting with names…he came to us as Marley, but we kinda think he looks like a “Bo”. Anyway, I’m completely in love!

Steve Pfiester & TankLast fall I lost my Great Dane, Tank, after 12 fantastic years. Although I’ve had dogs all my life, I took Tank’s death harder than I ever could have imagined. He was my best bud when Steve was away doing both reality TV shows, which was 3 months at a time. We had a special bond. I’m not sure if it’s the breed or what, but we were much more closely connected than any other dog I’ve had. Steve and I were both devastated. Our house was eerily quiet.

Well, we finally decided it was time to get another dog – and there was no question it would be another Dane. The short story is we ended up adopting Marley from a loving family (with 2 toddlers and 2 other Danes) who felt Marley needed more attention and love (which we were HAPPY to give!). It was love at first lick!

Pet Perks

Honestly, I forgot just how great being a pet owner is. I also never dreamed I could love another dog like I did Tank. I also started to notice he added a new healthy component to my life. Over the last 2 weeks, I noticed I made more time to just enjoy life. As a workaholic, I have a hard time stepping away from work, but Marley forces me to take more breaks, get outside, relax and even play more. I’ve even noticed that my activity on my Jawbone UP band (activity tracker) had even increased.

Great Dane

Bonnie Pfiester

This past Saturday I took him to dog training at Pawprints, where Marley went through what I call Doggie Boot Camp – complete with obstacle course, running, swimming (pictured left with my sister’s dog & Marley) and all kinds of cool stuff. At the end of the day, I looked at my activity on my Jawbone UP and I had walked 13,153 steps which is roughly 6.5 miles (compared to a normal pre-pet Saturday day of leisure taking only 6,000-7,000 steps). Then I got to thinking, Marley is so GOOD for me!

So, I did some research to learn more about all the health benefits of owning a dog. Study after study has consistently proven that pet owners are healthier than the average person. Take a look!

15 Health Benefits for Pet Owners

  1. Great Dane MantelThey increase activity. One study showed that people who have pets were 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily activity than a non-pet owner. Their desire to walk and play reminds us to get out and get moving too – and I’d have to agree!
  2. They help ease people out of isolation. Dogs are great conversation pieces and make people feel more comfortable facing the world “alone” – because, while they are not with another person, they have a loving companion.
  3. They help people handle stress better. One study showed people with a high-stress job and high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.
  4. They help children’s development. Studies showed children who suffered from wither severe ADHD or Autism showed lengthened attention spans. Pets also teach children responsibility and how to communicate with others better.
  5. They help boost children’s immune systems. WebMD says “If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies— 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.
  6. Great DaneThey are match-makers. Approaching another person out of the blue can be nerve-racking, but approaching someone with a dog is easy and almost always welcomed. The dog gives people something to talk about that is natural and comfortable, making the initial conversation much easier. Whether you are looking for a date or enjoy meeting people, pets make it easier to make more friends.
  7. They are calming. In a world full of hustle and bustle, people are in great need of “calming down”. Pets help us slow down, stop and smell the roses – or in this case, pet the dog. Playing with a dog actually elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine, nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
  8. They are good for your heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets, which showed owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  9. great daneThey speed recovery. When someone is stuck in bed recovering from surgery, or who has limited mobility, a pet can lift their spirits and boost recovery time. One study showed when a dog was part of the medical team, the patients’ anxiety scores dropped by 24 percent. When a human volunteer visited the patient, it just dropped 10 percent. Without visits, the patients’ conditions didn’t change, he says. (read more about therapy dogs)
  10. They give us a sense of empowerment. Once you have trained a pet to obey your command, it is very satisfying for a pet owner to have a certain level of control, even when life can be completely out of control around you. This sense of empowerment can boost confidence and encourage people to take better care of themselves.
  11. great dane in tubThey make you laugh. Laughing is so good for you, but many of us don’t do it nearly enough. Laughing relaxes your muscles, releases endorphins, boosts your immune system and relieves stress. The more you laugh, the better – and pets tend to do some pretty funny stuff (like getting into the bathtub for no reason and making adorable faces like this, pictured right).
  12. They fight depression. Pets provide companionship, unconditional love and make people feel important and loved. They keep people in a healthy routine, and help keep them active and social. One doctor said he personally witnessed people eliminate antidepressants by the simple act of obtaining a dog.
  13. They can detect cancer. Next time your dog sniffs you out, you may want to pay closer attention. There have been multiple reports of dogs sniffing out cancer. One woman reported her dog keep sniffing at a mole and even tried to bite it off. The mole ended up being a malignant melanoma. Another dog correctly detected cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected.
  14. They help prevent diabetic crashes and seizures. Many untrained dogs have shown behavioral changes when their owner’s blood sugar crashes or is about to have to have a seizure. Therapy dogs are trained to detect a drop in blood sugar or oncoming seizure before the owner begins to feel the symptoms, warning their owners in time to prevent an attack. (learn more about Diabetes Alert Dogs and Seizure Alert Dogs)
  15. They have healing powers for the elderly. Pets help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity in elderly people who often live alone. They also reduce depression and loneliness, associated with aging or illness, as well as take their mind of physical problems, loss and aging. Even Alzheimer’s patients benefited, with fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, or you’ve been trying to convince a loved one you need a pooch, now you have 15 really good reasons to back you up! 🙂

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