Walking the dog = not a bad workout

Exploring Intensity

Walking the dog = not a bad workout

Can a dog actually help your fitness? According to a couple new studies, the answer is yes, but not nearly as enthusiastically as man’s best friend was probably hoping.

First of all, here is a terrible statistic: Barely over 60 percent of dog owners actually walk their dogs. That is a terrible statistic that has Fido depressed and bummed. That number should be higher since evidence shows that that those who walk their dogs are far more likely to hit the 150 minutes a week of recommended exercise.

So one dog-loving researcher wanted to see if it was possible to make people walk their dogs more by tricking them into thinking they were taking obedience classes, according to this article:

The participants attended classes with their dogs several times a week, kept a log about extracurricular dog walks and wore an activity monitor, ostensibly to record those walks. The researchers asked them to continue to record any walks and wear the activity monitor occasionally for an additional six weeks after the classes ended.

The study didn’t go as planned, as the dogwalkers didn’t actually increase their amount of exercise, but it may have been due to the weather which was unseasonably terrible, and they plan to try it again with better weather and without tricking anyone.

And that may work better. A different study that tried something with non-dog owners by offering them college credit for visiting humane societies and walking dogs. Those students ended up clocking over two miles walking those dogs each time, and that is not a bad amount of extra exertion.

Really, what it comes down to, is that while it may not be a miracle workout, walking your dog can only add to your steps every day, and it’s a much more relaxing way to get off the couch.

And you know Fido wants nothing more than you to take out the leash. There are exciting things to sniff.

-Shane M.