According to a recent study, dog owners are notably fitter than those who don’t own a pet because of the amount of walking they do to exercise their four-legged friends.
Experts said that dog owners who took their animals on regular walks were 34 per cent more likely to achieve any exercise targets than those without a furry companion.
Dr Matthew Reeves from Michigan State University believes that dog ownership can have extremely positive benefits. ‘There is no magic bullet in getting people to reach those benchmarks,’ he said. ‘But owning and walking a dog has a measurable impact.
Experts recommend that we try to get in a minimum of 150 minutes worth of physical activity each week, and whilst many of us without dogs don’t manage this, two thirds of dog owners walk their dogs regularly and end up exercising for around an extra hour compared to those who own dogs but don’t walk them.
Though it may seem obvious that dog walkers have a higher level of physical activity, the study also found that dog owners had higher overall levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activity, and experts found that there was a notable link between owning a dog and participating in higher levels of activity even after dog walking had been taken into account.
Aside from the physical benefits of owning a dog, much research has also found that the social and bonding factors also have a positive impact on life.