6. Dogs Help with Weight Loss
According to a story published in The New York Times, research from the University of Missouri found that people who walk dogs are more consistent about regular exercise and show more improvement in fitness than people who walk with a human companion. In the 12-week study of 54 older adults, 35 people were assigned to a walking program for five days a week, while the remaining 19 served as a control group. Among the walkers, 23 selected a friend or spouse to serve as a regular walking partner, another 12 participants took a bus daily to a local animal shelter where they were assigned a dog to walk.
The researchers were surprised to find that the dog-walkers showed an impressive improvement in fitness, while the human walkers leaned towards making excuses to avoid the workout. Walking speed among the dog walkers increased by a whopping 28 percent, compared with just a 4 percent increase among the human walkers.
A University of Missouri-Columbia study showed that people who did not walk regularly could lose an average of 14 pounds in one year by walking a dog 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week!