Study: A dog keeps old people fit and healthier

Study: A dog keeps old people fit and healthier

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Dog owners move more and live healthier
Especially at an advanced age, many people have the problem that they just don't move enough. This can lead to health problems and being overweight. Researchers have now found that dog owners walk about 22 minutes more per day than people without dogs. This means they spend less time sitting, which leads to improved health.

In their investigation, scientists from Glasgow Caledonian University found that dogs are not only wonderful companions for lonely people, but also motivate their owners to be more active. Dog owners walk about 22 minutes more per day. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "BMC Public Health".

Dog owners are less lazy to move
Dogs are considered man's best friend. There could actually be more to this statement than one would initially expect. Dogs are cute, affectionate, and loyal companions to their owners. Children in particular like to play and cuddle with dogs. Dog owners have another big advantage: they move more than people without dogs. So owning a dog leads to health benefits because its owners spend less time sitting, the experts say.

Dog owners move about 2,760 more steps per day
For their investigation, the researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University equipped so-called activity trackers with around 100 subjects over the age of 65. This enabled them to monitor the participants' movements. “We found that dog owners walk about 22 additional minutes a day,” explains author Dr. Philippa Dall. This corresponds to a distance of approximately 2,760 additional steps.

Walking with dogs can cover the recommended amount of exercise from the WHO
Over the course of a week, the additional time that dog owners spend walking their dog may be sufficient to meet the World Health Organization's recommendations for exercise. These state that people should do moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week, explains Dr. Dall.

What negative effects does sedentary behavior have on health?
In addition to the additional steps involved in walking the dog, the scientists also found that dog owners generally spend less time sitting than people without a dog. It is generally believed that sitting time can have a major impact on health. In other words, one could say that sitting increases the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, for example, the study authors explain.

Doctors should advise older patients to buy a dog
The results of the current study show that doctors should motivate their older patients to buy a dog if necessary. The scientists advise that people without a dog can simply accompany other dog owners on their walks with the dog.

Do dogs make people more active or do active people often have a dog?
The Glasgow Caledonian University study is the first of its kind to use fitness trackers to track activity and didn't rely on participants' self-reported data, the researchers say. Nevertheless, the scientists have to admit that so far they have not been able to say exactly whether owning a dog makes people more active or whether active people generally simply own a dog more often. (as)

Author and source information

Video: Staying fit and healthy. Age UK (July 2022).


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  3. Kajikazahn

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