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Add Some Woof! to Your Workout
Date:12/31/2009

Dogs are joining humans at fitness 'boot camps'

THURSDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Forget about walking around the park with your pooch.

Boot camps designed for people and their pets are fast becoming popular choices for busy owners looking for a one-stop fitness program.

During the 60-minute classes, campers are put through a series of high-intensity moves, focusing on strength, balance and cardiovascular challenges, as well as dog obedience drills.

At Leash Your Fitness in San Diego, personal trainer Dawn Celapino usually leads a pack of nine clients during her outdoor sessions held in and around the city.

"Most of the people showing up for class work all day and feel guilty leaving their dog again while they go to the gym, or the weekend comes and they just want to spend time with their dogs," she explained.

The circuit-style camp is timed so people can work at their own pace, said Celapino, adding: "I literally have 11-year-olds and 80-year-olds in the same class."

Nancy Kelly joined Leash Your Fitness earlier this year, after relocating from New York, as a way to meet people and stay in shape.

"It's so much more fun than just taking my dog for a walk down the street," she said.

Kelly and her yellow Labrador retriever, Montana, religiously attend twice a week; on the other days she runs or goes to the gym.

The rigorous training has paid off. Since April, Kelly, 49, has dropped a jean size and Montana has shed eight pounds.

"It really has added to my workout regimen," she said.

Regular exercise keeps both people and pets healthier by managing weight, enhancing energy and combating chronic disease, experts say.

Adults need 2.5 hours of aerobic activity weekly, and two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening work for improved health, according to the U.S. Department of Health's 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines
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