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Thinking of getting fitter in the new year? Here’s how you and your pet can help each other out.

We’ve all spent a lot more time indoors than we could have ever imagined over the last year – again! And while you and your pet may have enjoyed plenty of cosy time on the couch, a new year often calls for new ways to keep fit, or at least get moving! There’s no need to leave your pet sitting pretty (and less sweaty) while you workout though. We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeves that involve two feet and all four paws on the ground – running around! Best of all, having fun, and all from the comfort of home. So if you’ve got a get-fit (or get-fitter) New Year’s resolution on your mind, this may just give you a nudge in the right direction. Happy New Year!

1. Play hide and seek

You hide, they find you – and get a treat for a job well done. Why not involve the whole family? If you have kids, they’ll love getting your pet playing an all-time favourite. Hide and seek with your pet is a really entertaining way to burn some energy. Depending how big your house is, 10-15 minutes should give you all a good little workout.

2. Use your stairs (if you have them)

Stairs are a great way to get our legs moving and offer up an extra challenge that requires us to use different muscles than we would on our daily walk. You may find your pet follows your lead as you run up and down the stairs. If not, you can throw their favourite toy down or up and encourage them to fetch it while you run after!

3. Create a circuit training workout

For some physical and mental stimulation, set up a course of twists and turns and things to duck and dive under and over. You can use any household objects for this – chairs, cushions, boxes – anything goes as long as it’s safe and sturdy. Remember to make it both people- and pet-friendly so you can guide your pet around the course while you workout too. Do as many circuits as it takes to tire yourselves out. You could even add a bit of uplifting music to keep you both motivated.

4. Share your treadmill

If you have one, a treadmill is a really fun way to get your pet moving. Let them get used to the sound of the motor and use a few treats to encourage them at first. Make sure the pace is about right for their stride and stay with them at all times. Start off slowly and then pick up the speed little-by-little. If they’re happy, let them go for a short jog! Then it’s your turn of course, while they cool down with a fresh bowl of water.

5. Try yoga together

Whether you practice yoga regularly, you’ve dabbled once or twice or have never tried it, you can find plenty of great yoga videos on YouTube from beginner-to-expert levels. Don’t worry, we’re not about to suggest that you get your dog into Child’s Pose or your cat doing the Low Lunge… but they can get involved. Ok, they might have the easier job here, but someone’s got to do the heavy-lifting! Here are a few yoga poses your cat and dog may just like to try with you.

Warrior Pose

If you have a small enough cat or dog, try lifting them during the Warrior I Pose stretch.

Child's Pose

Try resting your head on your pet’s back. This works best on larger breeds of cat and dog.

Camel Pose and Wheel Pose

Use your pet’s favourite toy or a small treat to encourage them to run through the space behind and under the arch of your back in these two poses.

Downward-facing dog

Our pets put themselves into all sorts of interesting positions sometimes, that may have even inspired well-known yoga moves – or at least their names. Why not try following your pet’s lead and see what positions they have you trying out!