FACT: Pet owners exercise more
Over half of all adults in Australia do not meet the recommended level of physical activity necessary for health benefit (Cutt, Knuiman &Giles-Corti 2008) – around 30 minutes each day. However, there is strong evidence that dog ownership can provide important benefits in terms of promoting physical activity: pet owners generally walk and run more than non-pet owners, thus meeting the standards for physical activity for a healthy and happy life.
According to a study by Australian researcher, Dr Hayley Christian from The University of Western Australia, people who acquired a dog increased their recreational walking (e.g. going to the beach or going around the neighbourhood) by 48 minutes per week compared with an increase of only 12 minutes per week for people who did not acquire a dog. Furthermore, transportation-related walking (e.g. walking to local shops instead of driving) also increased with dog ownership.
TIPS: Spice up your canine-human exercise time
Not a fan of walking around your boring neighbourhood? Try these activities that both you and your pup can enjoy (and still get some exercise done!):
- Dog yoga for the smaller breed dogs (yes there is such a thing!)
- Bushwalking/local trail walking offers a new and exciting route (and scents for your canine friend!)
- Go swimming in a pool or at a dog-friendly beach
- Dog agility classes are an excellent bonding exercise between dog and owner
- Rollerblading are for the dog owners who think walking is too slow of a pace
- Charity/community walks: walk and talk at the same time with like-minded dog owners of your community