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Dogs: Personal Trainers For Older Owners?

Dogs: Personal trainers for older owners?

Woman walking dog
Dogs: Furry friends or personal trainers?

Small or large, long-haired or short-haired, purebred or crossbred: dogs provide an infinite source of joy for their owners. With the health benefits of pet ownership stacking up, a new study adds increased physical activity to the list.

Previous studies have provided evidence on how our furry friends can benefit our health, such as by lowering stress and altering infants’ microbiota to lower their risk of allergies and obesity.

Now, a new study published in the journal BMC Public Health suggests that older adults who own a dog may be more likely to achieve the activity levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Their guidelines for adults aged 65 and older suggest that this group should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity during a week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity during this same time period.

Doing regular physical activity such as walking can reduce certain health risks, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, and depression.

Researchers from the latest study say that there is some evidence showing that dog ownership could improve physical activity among older adults, but previous studies have relied on self-reported data or incomplete datasets as a result of unreliable activity monitors.

Dog owners walk 22 minutes more per day

For their study, the researchers gave participants an activPAL monitor, which is worn on the thigh rather than the hip, and uses gravity to distinguish sitting and lying from…

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