Relearn to play from your dog

Some of you may wonder how is it posibble to get regular and sustained movement.  The answer is play!

But who’s your coach gonna be?  The answer is your dog!

Dogs understand that play is fun. They also understand that real play begins in the body and involves movement.

play with your dog

We will never get to a healthy weight without understanding that, in many important ways, humans are animals. Our minds might enjoy “playing” computer games. But millions of years of human evolution have created a body that loves to express itself through exuberant movement. Kids know this. Many adults forget.

Some adults make the mistake of trying to over-organize play. That’s why fitness programs become dull, repetitive, over-measured, soulless, or bound up by teams and rules. Your dog isn’t buying it.

If it’s fun, you’ll do it more. Walking with your dog is fun for both of you, especially if you mix it up and respond to your dog’s naturally playful spirit.

The play master: Frank Forencich’s dog Mojo

One of Weight Waggers’ favorite writers is Frank Forencich. He has a degree in human biology from Stanford and has taught martial arts and functional movement for 25 years.

But he’s not too proud to learn from his dog.

Here are a few excerpts from his fascinating and original book Exuberant Animal: The Power of Health, Play and Joyful Movement. Weight Waggers recommends the entire book.

Play includes varied movement

Forencich urges people to avoid the overly determined approach:

 “My dog’s name is Mojo…. His fitness program is truly amateurish…. He violates all the rules. When he exercises, he doesn’t warm up or cool down. He doesn’t check his heart rate and he  never measures his body fat percentage….. He doesn’t keep a spreadsheet and he never bothers   to log his progress. He has no performance objectives….

There’s no sense of discipline to his method. When he goes out on the trail, he sets whatever  pace he wants…. On some days he walks, some days he does wind sprints, some days he goes swimming….

Not only that, Mojo is completely apathetic about competition…. If he gets tired, he rests. If he gets hot, he seeks out shade. If his paw hurts, he slows down.

According to everything I read in the fitness and sports medicine press, Mojo out to get in terrrible condition…. But no, it’s not like that at all…. He’s got great muscle tone and a slender waist.

He does adhere to one basic rule. That is, he tries to get moderate to vigorous activity on most days of the week. That’s it. Aside from his obvious preoccupation with play and pleasure, this is his only rule for fitness. “(p. 232-233)


Real play begins in the body and involves movement

In 2004, Forencich interviewed his dog, Mojo, one of the “preeminent voices in the field of play philosophy” who has won “numerous awards for his work in the field of cross-species play.”

 Forencich: So what about humans then? Do they play too?

Mojo: Well I assume they do, but it’s really hard to tell sometimes. They aren’t like other animals, that’s for certain. Sometimes aney run and jump like normal critters, but a lot of them just sit there, for hours on end, hardly doing anything at all. I worry about them….

You humans are so dense sometimes. The point is that play begins in the body and that it involves movement…. All other forms come from that. You might say that you’re playing in some other way, but if you’re not moving your body, you’re missing out. You might be playing with all of your objects and tools and and sounds that you make, but if you don’t actually move, you’re missing the best part. (p. 209-212)

Learn more about Forencich and his books.

Walking Overview – A Step in the right direction

When you’ve been in the health and fitness industry as long as we have, you get asked a lot of different questions. You also get asked a lot of the same questions over and over. But the single most common question endures year after year. That question, ladies and gentlemen, is simply this: “What’s the best exercise?”

Despite the simplicity of the question, if you posed it to ten different “fitness professionals,” it’s unlikely even two of them would be in agreement. Chances are you would hear things like “Squats!,” “Dead-lifts,” “Bench Press,” or even some broader terms like “Interval Training,” “High Intensity Training,” or even “Escalating Density Training”. Those who like to keep up with the latest research trends may trumpet the benefits of “Functional Fitness.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these exercises. But the best exercise will always be the one most appropriate to meet your personal training goals. Here, at the BrainChanging Institute, our goal is a bit different. We are interested in helping people “train for life.”

So, today, we want to tell you about a different type of exercise that is specifically directed to helping you achieve lifelong health and vitality. It’s more of an activity than an exercise but it’s still the answer that we give when asked that all elusive question – “What is the best exercise?.” And that answer is – Walking.

Walking is the best exercise



Yes, walking.

“How on earth can walking be the best exercise?,” you would say.

Well, we’re glad you asked!


First of all, walking is what makes us human. The real branch in the evolutionary tree that separates man from the other great apes is our ability to easily and efficiently travel long distances walking upright. In order to do this, many changes had to occur in our skeleton and muscles — changes that took millions of years. Once we began walking upright, our hands were free to carry and create. Only after we began walking did we start to grow the massive brain that characterizes modern man.

Our evolutionary heritage is repeated in the individual. Our first year of life is defined by the relentless quest to get up, get moving, and finally get walking. The talent and the drive are inborn — you don’t need to teach a child to walk; in fact, short of restraining them, you cannot prevent it.

Since walking isn’t a marketable product or service — it doesn’t get the publicity it deserves. Scientific research confirms that the walking habit provides an enormous variety of health benefits. It will improve your thinking now and keep your mind clearer as you age. If you care more about sense than science, be reassured that daily walking is a common feature among cultures that enjoy very long healthy lives. Walking relieves stress and releases “feel good” chemicals into your brain. Now that’s what we call a healthy addiction!

Once you learn how to walk, it’s something that you never forget, and it’s something that you can always do, no matter what your level of “ability” is. Because you don’t really need anything to go for a walk, it’s a fantastic way to regain your love of movement. And it can be done anywhere, anytime, which makes it very convenient. You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership. You can reap many benefits from a daily walk, but you cannot buy the benefits like a vitamin pill. If you want to invest in yourself, you must learn to walk the walk, not just talk the talk!

So, if walking is such an amazing activity, how should you do it? Seems like a weird question right? I mean walking is walking, how complicated can it get? Although this is true, how you should walk still remains a very important question, simply because many people have lots of misconceptions when it comes to this wonderful activity.

Find out how you can get the best experience from walking by reading our Top Guidelines.