Walking Fido really does help!

by | July 11, 2017

Recent study shows that pet dogs help adults aged 65 and over stay active.


Adults aged 65 and over walk more if they own a dog.

For older adults, owning a dog increases the likelihood of achieving World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended levels of physical activity, according to a recent study done in the UK. Physical activity is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, multiple cancers and depression. This research adds evidence that shows that owning a pet dog can help support health as people age.

“We all know that as we get older we tend to slow down a little,” said the study’s project leader, Professor Daniel Mills. “By staying active, we can improve our health and other aspects of our quality of life. Factors driving higher levels of physical activity in adults are not well-defined. We were interested in assessing whether dog ownership has the potential to improve the health of older adults though increased activity.”

From the study, the team found that dog owners walk over 20 minutes more a day and this additional walking was at a moderate pace, explained Dr Philippa Dall, the study’s lead researcher. She added: “For good health, WHO recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. Over the course of a week, this additional 20 minutes walking each day may in itself be sufficient to meet these guidelines. Our findings represent a meaningful improvement in physical activity achieved through dog walking.”

This University of Lincoln and Glasgow Caledonian University Study was conducted in collaboration with the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars Petcare and funded through an ISAZ/WALTHAM award.


(** PHOTO CREDIT: Mars Petcare)



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