I’m already a big fan of anything that involves a fur baby, but I’m a HUGE fan of dog walking! (I mean… the fact I’m writing a blog about dogs means you can probably guess the kind of dog mom I am.)
The obsessed kind. I’ll admit it.
Did you know that dog-walking is a proven motivator for human physical activity? One study found that approximately 60% of dog owners walked their dog for an average of 160 minutes per week. Dog ownership was also correlated with more leisure time walking and time spent in nature.
Other biomarkers that have been shown to improve with dog ownership are total step count, activity time, calories burned, BMI scores, sleep length, physical functioning, social functioning, pain, vitality and emotional well-being.
We all know regular physical activity provides numerous health benefits like prevention and reduction of chronic disease, metabolic health, hormone balance, stress management and more. But have you ever thought about the benefits for your dog?
Similar to humans, when dogs walk, they experience the following benefits:
- Lower stress levels and improved mental health
- Healthy weight management
- Lower risk for liver disease
- Reduced risk for osteoarthritis
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improvements in digestion
I got my dog at a time in my life where I was struggling to get out of bed and make it to any school, work or social commitments. I was anxious, depressed and I rarely spent anytime outdoors. If you love your fur baby the way I love mine, then you know you’d do ANYTHING to make them happy. So I got my butt out of bed, went out into the world and we walked. Four years later and I can’t imagine life without my daily morning walk with the doggo.
Christian HE, Westgarth C, Bauman A, Richards EA, Rhodes RE, Evenson KR, Mayer JA, Thorpe RJ Jr. Dog ownership and physical activity: a review of the evidence. J Phys Act Health. 2013 Jul;10(5):750-9. doi: 10.1123/jpah.10.5.750. Epub 2012 Sep 18. PMID: 23006510.
Mičková E, Machová K, Daďová K, Svobodová I. Does Dog Ownership Affect Physical Activity, Sleep, and Self-Reported Health in Older Adults? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 11;16(18):3355. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16183355. PMID: 31514379; PMCID: PMC6765935.
Zijlema WL, Christian H, Triguero-Mas M, Cirach M, van den Berg M, Maas J, Gidlow CJ, Kruize H, Wendel-Vos W, Andrušaitytė S, Grazuleviciene R, Litt J, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ. Dog ownership, the natural outdoor environment and health: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2019 May 27;9(5):e023000. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023000. PMID: 31138578; PMCID: PMC6549751.