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Barking bootcamp: charity launches dog-inspired exercise class for humans

National pet charity Blue Cross has designed an unusual workout for humans who want to get fit this January. Work Out Like A Dog is the world’s first exercise class aimed at humans with exercises normally reserved for dogs.

The charity is raising awareness of the importance of exercise for a dog's health and happiness, as high numbers of dogs arrive at their centres with behavioural problems stemming from boredom and lack of stimulation because they simply haven’t been exercised properly.

Created by Blue Cross and qualified PT and fitness instructor Born Barikor, all of the exercises in the 45-minute aerobic and conditioning workout for humans have either been adapted from a dog’s favourite exercises or have been directly inspired by man’s best friend. They include HIIT ball fetch, tug-of-war, Frisbee and even having humans mimic a dog’s bag of tricks as part of a circuit routine.

Mandy Jones, Director of Rehoming at Blue Cross added, "We hope the Work Out Like A Dog bootcamp will be an eye-opener for dog owners and would-be dog owners. Humans can communicate when they feel frustrated or want a change of scenery; if they need to let off steam with a good long run they just head out and do it. By contrast most pet dogs are completely reliant on us picking up signals that they require some stimulation or have to spend some energy. This workout should remind everyone what a huge emotional and physical difference it can make when we get that right!

"Every year we take in high numbers of dogs from often heartbroken owners of pets with behavioural problems ranging from being mischievous to destructive and even aggressive. While each case is unique and complex, in a number of them issues arise from the pet being under-stimulated or frustrated, and we can see improvements when they start getting the right amount of play and exercise. That’s why, in addition to the clinical and rehoming work Blue Cross does we want to educate owners too; the more informed they are, the better equipped they’ll be to give their pets a long, healthy and happy life in a forever home."

PT Born Barikor explained, "Anyone would agree that in addition to losing weight or toning up, regular exercise acts as an incredible release for pent-up energy or stress. We weren’t designed to spend all day cooped up and sedentary - and neither were our furry friends! With Work Out Like A Dog we wanted participants to channel the joy a dog feels playing their favourite games in the park, as well as the physical benefits."

The bootcamp will be running daily from Monday 30 January to Friday 3 February at 7.30am in Victoria Park, meeting at the Park Pavilion. Spaces are available here with a suggested donation of £5 to Blue Cross. There is also a workout sheet available to download for those who can’t make it to the classes.

Photos: Blue Cross