A study shows that walking a dog makes a person more active overall – or is it that active people are more likely to take a dog on walks?
People who walk dogs are more active beyond just the dog walking part of their lives, than are people who have dogs but don’t walk them, says a study from Michigan State University. Maybe owning — and walking — a dog is just what the doctor ordered.
The researchers wanted to find out if dog owners were getting more activity or if the dog walking was a replacement for other kinds of activity.
The investigation revealed that dog walkers were overall more active than those with dogs who did not walk them.
It’s expected that dog walkers do more walking, but this category of pet owners actually had greater overall levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity, says the report.
The conclusion is that there seems to be a strong association between owning and walking a dog, and getting in higher levels of activity — even after adjusting for the actual dog walking.
The study revealed another interesting finding: Small dogs were walked for a shorter duration than were large breeds.
Does this stem from the belief that small canines require less exercise than big ones?
Or could it be that sedentary people are more likely to own a Pomeranian than a German shepherd?
Get Moving Anyways
If you have a dog but have not been walking it, get moving — not only for your pet’s cardiovascular health, but for your own.
If there’s a problem with your pet pulling too much, then take it to an off-leash park and trot around with it.
Or, use a “gentle leader” leash. I’ve used this on my German shepherd and it really works. The leash attaches to the dog’s muzzle, discouraging the animal from charging forward.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.