Health Benefits of Dog Walking

October 13, 2017 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

We love our furry friends. They are constant companions to us and are great sources of comfort. However, there are also some surprising health benefits that can come with having a dog around. Walking serves as a good example.

The main health benefit that comes from dog ownership comes from dog walking. Many studies show that those who walk their dogs were more likely to meet World Health Organization weekly exercise standards. A recent UK-based study of adults aged 65 to 81 showed that older adults with dogs walked about 22 minutes a day more than those who did not have dogs. This adds up to 154 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which is 4 minutes over the World Health Organization standard.

Another research study, published by The Gerontologist, also backs up these claims. Their study found that dog owners, who walked their dogs and not just relied on a dog door, had lower BMI, and were overall more fit compared to those who did not have dogs.

This has been well researched enough that the American Heart Association issued a statement declaring that dog ownership and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease correlate (Curl, et all).

Dogs can provide other benefits, too, such as stress relief and companionship. However, if you are thinking about getting a dog, be sure to think things through first. Owning a dog is a rewarding experience, but only if you have the financial, physical, and mental means to care for one effectively.

Source:

Angela L Curl, PhD, MSW, Jessica Bibbo, MA, Rebecca A Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP; Dog Walking, the Human–Animal Bond and Older Adults’ Physical Health, The Gerontologist, Volume 57, Issue 5, 1 October 2017, Pages 930–939, https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnw051

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