A recent study revealed that dog owners, on average, walk an extra 22 minutes every day compared to non-dog owners.
The study, which was published in BMC Public Health, also discovered that the walking dog owners do is moderately paced—that’s right. Fido helps you break a sweat and gets your heart rate up.
Moderate intensity is great intensity
Moderately-paced walking may not seem like that big of a deal, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is.
Moderate walking—about 3 miles an hour—is just as effective as running at controlling myriad health issues: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, and other common, but potentially deadly, health conditions. Also, all the extra walking can really help your ticker.
The U.K. study took data from men and women in their 60s and older. Some participants were dog owners and some were not. The people in the study wore activPAL devices. The devices measured speed, distance, and other health factors. The participants wore the devices for 24-hours a day so researchers were able to truly monitor their daily activities.
While this researcher was compiled in the U.K., American researchers are taking note, too. “This is a great study,” Robert Sallis, a family physician with Kaiser Permanente in California, says.
American scientists’ interest in this study stems from America’s growing health crisis.
“The national [American] physical activity guidelines call for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise, and that’s what they got in this study,” Sallis adds.
But, in contrast, a CDC analysis reveals that only about 50 percent of Americans get that much exercise every week… Yikes.
While owning a dog may help you become healthier, which leads to a longer life, having a pet as a companion can also help relieve stress and depression.
So, young people… Get a pet. Your body and your mind will thank you once you begin to age.