A Fun Exercise!

Let’s face it, while dancing is great exercise, it’s not much fun alone. However, dancing with dog toys is great fun and good exercise for balance. I do it about 30 minutes each morning – that’s around 3,500 steps on my phone’s step counter!

Plus, I start my day feeling good. You can dance outdoors or inside – even in your kitchen or living room. You don’t even need a dog (but dancing is more fun with a friend!)

Watch Dancing With Dog Toys on YouTube!

If you are under the care of a medical professional show them this video before beginning. I am 68 years old and I used a cane to walk for over 15 years. I have had 7 surgeries for nerve decompression from an inherited form of polyneuropathy. I don’t have normal feeling in my feet or hands. I also have severe spinal stenosis. Dancing with dog toys really helps my pain. It’s great for both exercise and improving balance.’

A few years ago I was stumbling, my balance was lousy. My doctor sent me to a physical therapist who helped me a lot. However, the first couple of sessions were really depressing. I had to step inside a bunch of little square boxes and I failed miserably!

One night I was very frustrated. I love the outdoors and I feared that my hiking days with my dog would be over. Then, I heard a squeak. It was my dog chewing on one of his plastic squeaker toys. My dog has a bunch of toys because Rite Aid sells them two for a dollar. I have to step over them around the house.

I grabbed a handful of his plastic squeaker toys and spread them out on the kitchen floor. Using my cane, I began to step around them. I spread them out in irregular patterns – like real obstacles. The silliness of it made me laugh. It was fun – and challenging. I did boxing as a youth and that gave me ideas for my footwork.

At first I stepped on the squeaker toys almost every time! But, pretty soon I was able to move around them – and then to dance! I started with six dog toys on the kitchen floor. Now I have about 30 dog toys in my backyard (total cost $15). After about a year of dancing with dog toys I no longer needed a cane for most walks.

You can spread the toys out about 18 inches to 3 feet apart, or whatever is a good distance for you. The toys look like small hamburgers and hotdogs. They are different shapes and sizes because the world confronts us with different shapes and sizes of obstacles. You can also put them out in rough lines to step around.

An Exercise For the Real World

Dancing with dog toys is a good, fun exercise for walking in the real world. That means stepping AROUND obstacles like potholes, broken glass and dog poop. Often we don’t see these until we are about to step in them. It retrained my legs and feet to move quickly to avoid some of life’s obstacles.

I like to put on some good music and simply start walking around and then, dancing. Start off with a slow tempo and build up to faster music and more complex steps. I usually do between 3,000 – 5,000 steps each morning. Ten minutes of dancing with dog toys is about 1,000 steps on a smart phone counter.

Please avoid becoming too overly confident like me – I badly sprained my ankle when doing it barefoot and also gave myself a painful case of plantar fasciitis! Now, I wear shoes and ankle supports. I’m a senior with an aging body, not a ballet dancer. We have to be careful doing any exercise. I also use KT athletic tape on my knees.

If you don’t want to exercise alone, then dance over to your local animal shelter and meet a furry forever friend who will be happy to have squeaker toys and go on walks with you. Thanks so much for watching!

If you are under the care of a medical professional, show them this video before attempting Dancing with Dog Toys!