A recent study released by Michigan State University shows that people who own dogs walk more often (about an hour longer per week more than non-dog owners) and are in general more active.
Personally, I can attest to the accuracy of this study. After college, when I adopted my first dog, I was forced outside to walk her and give her physical and mental stimulation. If it was raining, I wasn’t feeling well, or I just didn’t want to go, it didn’t matter – she needed to go and I was the only one available to take her. That first summer I lost a few pounds and gained muscle and physical stamina – all without really trying. Just that added exercise every day made the difference.
The results of this study lead many to promote dog ownership and dog walking as a way to stay in shape, helping to lower the statistic of fewer than half of Americans currently meeting recommended levels of physical activity.
Study co-author Mathew Reeves also concluded that the social factors of owning a dog, including the human-animal bond, have a positive impact on the dog owner’s quality of life. Again, I agree. Owning a dog and caring for her, while sometimes hard and sometimes frustrating, has been a huge positive event in my life – I feel happier and more important, and enjoy the companionship a dog provides.
It’s no wonder we call the dog “man’s best friend” considering the impact he makes on our lives!
What do you think? Does your dog increase your physical activity during the week? What about your quality of life in general?
Heather Kalinowski lives in the Seattle area with her husband, newborn son, and two rescued pups – an Italian Greyhound named Ava and a Spaniel mix named Jackson. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family, and volunteering with Italian Greyhound Rescue.