Have you been considering getting a dog? If so, the latest research shows dog ownership can have an extremely positive impact on your overall health. Learn how dogs and exercise go hand in hand!
Recently, two separate studies have confirmed that dog ownership increases exercise. By how much? Well, in the first study, researchers discovered regular dog walkers were more active than those who don’t own dogs. In fact, dog owners had 20% higher activity levels and were more active for 30 minutes a day.
Interestingly enough, the study showed that dog owners were also more active on cold, rainy days—essentially, days with the worst weather conditions. Sounds like dogs are an ideal motivator for getting off the couch and going outdoors if you live in the snowy Midwest!
The second study determined that dog owners get 22 more minutes of exercise a day than non-owners. Furthermore, the exercise was at a moderate pace, so the owners were increasing their heart rate just like the CDC recommends.
The CDC has made it clear that physical activity is an important component of good health. According to its latest guidelines, adults will experience substantial health benefits by engaging in moderate cardiovascular activity for 2 hours and 30 minutes per week, or vigorous activity for 1 hour and 15 minutes a week—or some combination of the two.
Want even greater health benefits? The CDC suggests upping your activity to 5 hours per week of moderate activity, or 2.5 hours per week of vigorous cardiovascular activity.
Additionally, the CDC recommends muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.
Walking seems so easy that it’s hard to imagine we could gain any benefits from it. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. Moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running have been shown to offer similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly heart disease. At a minimum, walking with your dog will improve your health and may even help you lose weight.
Absolutely. Not only can dogs improve our physical health, they’re also good for our emotional health. Dog ownership reduces stress, alleviates depression, and can stave off feelings of isolation. In short, your dog might be even better for you than the treadmill at the gym!