01/18/2011 06:40 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Pet Pilates: Tone Your Core By Playing With Your Dog

Pet owners tend to live longer due to the reduction in the stress hormone cortisol, according to a study at University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.

As the owner of two dogs, I have created Paws-ilates (TM). It blends spine-strengthening exercises, core toners and some simple lifts with Fido to help you stand taller and spend time with your dog. Here are a few simple exercises I recommend for owners of dogs 25 pounds and lighter:

The Sit, Lean and Reach

Start in a seated position with knees slightly bent. Your pooch sits in front of or facing you. Holding onto your pet securely with both hands, engage your core, lean back and reach. Keep your spine tall and chest open. Exhale as you lean back, and inhale as you sit upright. Perform 10 to 20 alternating repetitions.

The Canine Cross

Start in a seated position with knees slightly bent. Hold your pet securely and rotate to the side. Return to center seated upright. Repeat on the opposite side. Lift your same-side leg to challenge your core.

Side Bend Power Leash

Stand tall with dog seated at your side. As you hold the leash with one hand and bent arm, lift your other arm up and over your head. Reach downward towards your pet. Perform 10 and then walk your dog in a circle to repeat on other side.

Paws-ilates is a program for both people and pets to enjoy. As you tone your core, your pet gets a gentle massage, creating a special time to reconnect and decompress.


Andrea Metcalf is a healthy lifestyle spokesperson and author of "Naked Fitness," a program to help you look good naked and feel good in your own skin.