Good news dog owners! You're winning the race to a healthy lifestyle. The American Journal of Public Health published a study suggesting a positive relationship between dog walking and sufficient levels of physical activity. The study revealed that dog owners engaged in dog walking activities roughly 2.6 times per week and made dog owners 57% to 77% more likely to achieve sufficient physical activity than non-owners. The benefits of dog walking, and physical activity in general, are numerous.
Lower Blood Pressure
Walking, in general, is proven to lower blood pressure. Specifically the study showed that walking just 30-minutes per day resulted in lower systolic blood pressure. The systolic blood pressure measures the force that's created by your heart pumping to move blood through your vessels, and it is a strong predictor of heart problems. A systolic blood pressure of 140 or is considered high blood pressure.
Increased Lower Body Strength
Maintaining a walking regimen through adulthood leads to increased core and lower body strength, which in turn improves balance. As you get older, a fall can become catastrophic. A sedentary lifestyle is downright dangerous. Having a dog to get you up and moving can improve your quality of life and improve longevity.
The effects aren't just physical. Dog owners also perceive their neighborhoods to be more attractive and cohesive. In addition, owners reported having more social support from their family.
The research has concluded that owning a dog can play an important role in increasing levels of physical activity. Researchers in the study advocate for programs to increase dog ownership. They also aim to increase the amount of dog walking to five times per week. Higher levels of physical activity across the population lead to significant health, community, and economic benefits.