Louis Smith fronts fitness video for dogs and owners

Olympic medal-winning gymnast Louis Smith has swapped the pommel horse for man’s best friend as he fronts the first ever celebrity fitness video for man and dog.

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Petsercise with Louis Smith sees the Team GB hero guide viewers through a high tempo and fun home workout – with the addition of two dogs exercising alongside him.

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Petsercise with Louis Smith: The First Man and Dog Fitness Video

Created by pet insurers MORE TH>N and Wagglepets1 the 11-minute fitness video includes a mixture of simple cardio and core-strengthening exercises that will see both owner and dog break into a sweat when performed together (if dogs could sweat, that is).

Each exercise Louis Smith and his canine companions perform in the video has been developed by a vet2 and personal trainer and will ensure people following at home feel the benefit while also giving their dogs a healthy run around, supplementing the regular outdoor exercise they should get.
Some of the exercises3 Louis and his four-legged fitness friends carry out in the fitness video include:

  • Figure of Eights: the dog’s owner adopts a squat position and leads a dog through their legs in a figure of eight motion;
  • Bicycle Crunches: the dog jumps between the owner’s alternating legs; and
  • Pro Cobra: a shoulder and back workout for the owner that sees the dog chase a treat in the owner’s hands.

Importantly, MORE TH>N and Wagglepets recommend using a dog ball, toy or healthy treat in order to effectively replicate each person-and-pet exercise at home.

Louis Smith said of the video:

“2016 is a big year for me. The aim is to get to Rio and represent the nation on the biggest sports stage of all. It’s really important that I’m in peak physical condition, but I never forget about my dog and their need for regular exercise and a proper diet. That’s why I teamed up with MORE TH>N and Wagglepets to create this workout video: to help spread the word about the importance of a happy and healthy lifestyle for dogs everywhere.”

Launching today

Petsercise with Louis Smith launches today at the peak of the celebrity fitness DVD season. While the free video will help dog owners work towards their New Year’s resolution to shift any extra Christmas pounds, it has another ambition: to combat the ongoing dog obesity crisis in the UK. Indeed, despite most dogs born with an insatiable appetite for running around, one in three (33%) canines today are nonetheless classified as overweight4.

Steve Jay, Head of Innovation at MORE TH>N, said:

“Unfortunately there are too many dogs today that are out of shape and overweight – and it’s an entirely man-made problem. Just like us, every dog should have the opportunity to live a happy and healthy life. However, where we can all choose to adopt healthier lifestyles, dogs can’t make such an act of self-improvement alone.”

“We understand that even the most responsible of dog owners may not always have the time to give their dogs the amount of exercise they need every day, so it’s important to find creative ways to help owners supplement their pets’ fitness.

“Hopefully, the fun workout video we’ve created with Louis Smith will encourage all owners to give their dogs the exercise they love, while having the added benefit of being a workout for them too.”

Notes for editors

1. About Wagglepets

A new monthly pet product that provides everything a dog owner needs for a happy and healthy dog, helping to save pet owners money and time. Each month Wagglepets customers receive a box containing quality nutritional food, toys and treats and preventative treatments. In addition, Wagglepets customers receive pet insurance from MORE TH>N and a smart dog activity tracker.

2. Consultant veterinarian

The veterinarian that helped to create the exercises seen in the fitness video is Dr. Robert White Adams BVSc MRCVS, Joint Partner and Veterinary Surgeon with Companion Care Vets.

3. The 'petsercises'

Figure of Eights (3 sets of 8 repetitions in each direction): start off with a slight bend in your knees and feed a dog toy or treat through, under and around your legs in a figure of eight motion. Your dog should closely follow your hands through your legs, also creating a figure of eight motion. For the human this gets the lower body working, while encouraging the dog to run and get their heart rate up. Do 8 repetitions in each direction. Afterwards, let your dog have the toy or treat. You don’t want to frustrate your dog too much as they’ll lose interest. Rest for one minute and then repeat in both directions two more times. [00:02:14]

Squat Throws (3 sets of 8 repetitions): this exercise is a good cardio and muscular workout for both owner and dog. Start by holding a ball and position your feet shoulder width apart. Get down into a squat position, and from here as you go back up to a standing position, launch the ball forward. Not too far, just a light release. Your dog should chase after the ball. As they do so continue squatting. When the dog returns the ball to you, launch it again, continuing the squatting motion. Do 8 repetitions and take a 60 second rest. Repeat two more times. [00:03:43]

Bicycle Crunches (3 sets of 10 repetitions each side): the bicycle crunch is an excellent exercise for building core strength and toning your thighs. Lie on the floor, ideally on an exercise mat. Stretch your legs out straight and hold your arms outstretched at your sides. Keep your head and feet off the floor. Bring one leg towards your head until your knee is at a right angle to your body and your calves are parallel with the floor. Now, with a treat or toy in your hand, encourage your dog to leap through the space between your straight leg and your raised leg. Switch the treat into your other hand, lower your raised leg and raise your other leg. Encourage the dog to once again jump over. Repeat this so that your legs create a pedalling motion, going slowly enough for the dog to have time to jump between. Do 10 repetitions on each leg before giving your dog the toy or treat. Rest and repeat two more times. [00:05:15]

Sprints (5 sets of 10 repetitions): This is a quick cardio hit for both you and your dog – and introduces some healthy ‘dog-eat-dog’ competitive spirit into the routine. Establish a 10m area - bigger if you have the space. This can easily be done outdoors. However, if you are indoors a long hallway, kitchen or living room will suffice, but ensure the floor is not slippery. Starting from one end, and with a treat or toy visible in your hand, sprint to the other end and run straight back as fast as you can with your dog running alongside. [00:06:29]

Standing Lunge and Feed (3 sets of 5 repetitions): this exercise that will hit the gluts and legs while also giving your dog a little run. Start standing, feet together. Take a big step behind you with your left leg, lifting your left heel off of the floor, keeping most of your weight in your right leg. Slowly bend both knees, lowering your body straight down until both knees make 90-degree angles, being sure to keep your front knee in line with your ankle. Now, using a treat, ball or toy lead the dog around your front and back legs in a circular pattern. Keep repeating this so the dog is running circles around your legs. All the while holding the lunge stance. [00:08:01]

Pro Cobra (3 sets of 4 repetitions): this exercise helps define the back muscles and gets the dog running back and forth in an arc. Start off by laying flat on the ground, chest to the floor, then drive the dog toy or treat in front of you. Bring the dog toy around the side and then your dog will run round after it. As you bring arms to your side extend your shoulders and lift your upper back. When you bring your arms together outstretched in front of you, swap the treat into your other hand. [00:09:17]

**All of the exercises have been created with a medium-sized, young dog of ideal weight. Dog owners recreating the exercises at home should the adapt the routine – and the amount of sets / repetitions they perform - according to their dog’s age, breed, size and overall fitness levels.**

4. Statistics

According to research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MORE TH>N with 1,000 dog owners.