Sell the treadmill…turn the stationary bike into a drying rack for laundry: Scientific research shows that a dog may be the best piece of exercise equipment you can have.
According to an article in The New York Times, recent research puts numbers on the canine effect. In one study published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health, people who own a dog are 70% more likely to walk in their leisure time than people without a dog. Plus, 27% of dog owners log 150+ minutes moderate to vigorous walking each week–that’s the amount doctors recommend for general health. In general, dog owners exercise about 30 minutes more each week than non-dog owners.
According to study author Mathew Reeves, associate professor epidemiology at Michigan State…and owner of two dogs:
“There is exercise that gets done in this household that wouldn’t get done otherwise,” he said. “Our dogs demand that you take them out at 10 o’clock at night, when it’s the last thing you feel like doing. They’re not going to leave you alone until they get their walk in.”
In another study, researchers found that older people are more likely to take regular walks if their walking partner is a dog rather than a human. And their fitness levels increased by a greater margin, with those walking dogs increasing their walking speed by 28% (compared with an increase of only 4% in people walking with another person). Why? Well, it turns out that the the human companions often complained about the heat or talked each other out of walking. Dogs don’t make excuses.
“You need to walk, and so does your dog,” said Rebecca A. Johnson, director of the human-animal interaction research center at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s good for both ends of the leash.”
To read the full article, click here: Forget the Treadmill. Get a Dog.