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Study: Dog Owners are Healthier

Study: Dog Owners are Healthier

A new study led by a Michigan State University researcher shows people who owned and walked their dogs were 34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks on physical activity than those who don’t have dogs. The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

According to epidemiologist Mathew Reeves, the study shows that promoting dog ownership and dog walking could help many Americans to become healthier. Currently fewer than half of the American population meets recommended levels of leisure-time physical activity.

“Walking is the most accessible form of physical activity available to people,” Reeves said. “What we wanted to know was if dog owners who walked their dogs were getting more physical activity or if the dog-walking was simply a substitute for other forms of activity.”

Obviously if you are taking your dog for daily walks your level of activity increases, but the team found that not only did owning and walking a dog increase the amount of walking a person does but that they were more active overall.

“There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity, even after accounting for the actual dog walking.”

Reeves also noted  that spending time with a dog  has been shown to have a positive impact on quality of life.

Related:
Are Dogs Better for Your Health than Cats?
Top 10 Common Pet Toxins

Read more: Dogs, Fitness, General Health, Pets

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

76 comments

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7:51AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

I've had dogs all my life I'm nearly 66 and am hardly ever ill!!! Thanks to my dogs for all the love they give me. Marilyn B.

3:40AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Thanks for the article.

10:11AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

good to know

3:10AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

It's the love we receive that counts

1:30AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Thanks

12:13PM PST on Nov 12, 2012

yes we are.:-) Lots of walks and air:-)

6:13AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

noted

7:19AM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

Old news are old.

1:55PM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

My dogs are both seniors now so their activity level has decreased, especially the oldest of the two (age 14). The younger one is almost 9 and she's still up for a morning jog! I believe that dogs do keep you healthier, both physically and emotionally.

5:47AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

without my dog, my activities outdoors would be nearly zero; the same for those surprising, unexpected, but non-committal encounters with other dog owners!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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