Can Owning a Dog Really Benefit Your Health?
Dogs, in addition to many other pets, can give real health benefits to their owners. Dog owners experience lower blood pressure, lower levels of stress, and a lower risk of developing asthma, especially in children. Why might that be?
Who Gets More Exercise: Dog Owners or Non-Dog Owners?
A large reason is that dog owners tend to be more active and take walks more often than those who don’t own dogs. Dog owners walk nearly 3,000 more steps per day more than those who don’t own dogs, which is a considerable amount of extra exercise per day.
Everyone is less active on shorter days, cold winter days, and rainy days, but even on those days where the weather is less than ideal, dog owners tend to still take walks more often than the non-dog owners do. Non-dog owners tend to spend a larger portion of their days sitting down than the dog owners do.
In addition to spending more time walking on both the good weather days and the bad weather days, dog walkers also tend to walk faster than the non-dog walkers do. Dog walkers typically walk briskly at 3 miles per hour and get their heart rates up higher than those who are not walking dogs with them. This is called “moderate-intensity walking.”
Research has shown that this “moderate-intensity walking” exercise is just as effective as running is and this leads to huge health benefits for dog owners. This extra exercise allows many dog walkers to live longer than those who do not own any pets! The more people walk, the more health benefits they get.
Is There a Psychological Connection with the Needs of Animals?
Dog owners tend to stay motivated to remain active throughout their lives as their dogs do as they age. Some think that being driven by the needs of their pets motivates pet owners to exercise more everyday. Getting this regular exercise goes a long way in dealing with many age-related problems humans face as they get older, such as obesity.
Not only is walking a dog free and is an activity that can be done with or without other humans involved, but walking a dog also helps foster a human-dog bond. Dog owners typically don’t skip out on their regular exercise because their dogs are reminder to spend time with them dog lovers really value this time!