Looking for a fitness buddy? Get a dog

Mon Apr 1, 2013 1:12pm EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Zeus the pit bull helps his owner slog through interval training and military crawls, Goldie and her master enjoy Tai Chi together and Izzie the three-legged shih tzu can't hike up the mountain but she acts as a hand weight for her owner's bicep curl.

Experts say a dog may be man's best fitness friend, and dog-and-master workouts don't have to be limited to a run on the beach or a Frisbee toss.

"Unlike humans, their motivation never peters out. Dogs don't drop off one by one, like other fitness buddies," said Dr. Marty Becker, an Idaho-based veterinarian and author of "Fitness Unleashed: A Dog and Owner's Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together."

Becker cited statistics he said show that 56 percent of dogs and cats and 66 percent of people are overweight in America.

Bow Wow Bootcamp, Tai Chi Wa Wa and Pupilates, are a few of the group fitness class offered to humans and their dogs at K9 Fit Club, which has locations in Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Founder Tricia Montgomery was working for the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association when the idea of a gym for people and pets occurred to her.

Behind the cute names is a serious purpose.

"We are not just a bunch of people getting together with our dogs," said Montgomery. "Our programs are designed by certified trainers and psychologists."   Continued...