Study: Dog owners 34 percent more likely to get recommended exercise

Lisa Wurth

April 25, 2011

A new study conducted by Michigan State University has discovered that those who own a dog are 34 percent more likely to meet the daily federal recommendations for physical exercise. The levels are currently met by fewer than half of all Americans.

“Walking is the most accessible form of physical activity available to people,” researcher Matthew Reeves said. “What we wanted to know was if dog owners who walked their dogs were getting more physical activity or if the dog-walking was simply a substitute for other forms of activity.”

There are also a host of mental and physical benefits to walking on a regular basis. Some research has shown that it can boost a person’s mood and may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, walks can help one lose weight and improve cardiovascular health.

Experts also recommend the activity to older adults who are trying to lower their fall risk. Those who are looking to age safely and independently may also want to invest in a personal emergency response system. These medical alert systems enable users to instantly send a medical alert if they require assistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in three Americans over the age of 65 falls each year.

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