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Walking your dog linked to more exercise, better health
A study of 399 dog-owners who walk their dogs, 137 dog-owners who don’t walk their dogs, and 380 dog-free adults (all in their late 20’s to early 50’s) found that walking a dog has definite health and fitness advantages for the human (and, most likely, the dogs).
Each of the humans was asked to fill out a lifestyle and health questionnaire and the researchers used the answers to compare dog-walking status with reported physical activity levels, body mass index (BMI), and self-reported disease status.
People who walked dogs, on average, got more physical activity every week, had lower BMIs, and were less likely to report they had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or depression than people who did not walk dogs were, even after adjusting for age and overall physical activity levels.
The study was not set up to show cause and effect, so it is possible healthier, more fit people are more likely to get dogs they have to walk.