Science Finds Dog Owners Are More Active In General (And It’s Not Just Dog Walks)
It's no new news that dog walking is an easy and and relatively pain-free way to get a bit of daily exercise, but did you know that those who own dogs are likely to be more active in general?
Past research has found that dog owners are more physically active than those who aren't, which is hardly surprise considering the whole walking your dog thing, but a new study has found that dog owners are exercising their pooch in addition to other physical activity.
In fact, dog owners are four times more likely to meet their recommended physical activity guidelines than non-dog owners, the research by University of Liverpool found.
NHS guidelines state that adults should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, a goal that is only achieved by 66 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women in England, and fewer than 50 per cent of adults in the USA.
The study, published in Scientific Reports, assessed the exercise of 385 households in West Cheshire, UK, comprised of 191 dog owning adults, 455 non-dog owning adults and 46 children.
They found that dog owners walk more frequently and for longer periods than non-dog owners, and that dog walking is undertaken in addition to (and not instead of) other physical activities.
I.e. dog owners aren't walking their dogs then putting their feet up with a cuppa for the rest of the day. (Um, not all of them, anyway.)
Dr Carri Westgarth the lead author of the study, said: "Our findings provide support for the role of pet dogs in promoting and maintaining positive health behaviours such as walking. Without dogs, it is likely that population physical activity levels would be much lower.
"The health benefits of dog ownership should be recognised and facilitated through the provision of dog-supportive walking environments and pet-friendly housing; failure of planning and policy makers to provide these may significantly damage population levels of physical activity."
So there it is: dogs make us healthier in general. As if we needed another reason to love dogs.
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash/Brady Wakely