Walkies is a great way to keep your­self fit

Lennox Herald - - PROPERTY | SERVICES - Lor­raine Howard

Dog walk­ing could be the key to keep­ing your­self ac­tive.

Older dog own­ers spend less time in the day be­ing seden­tary, re­searchers found.

They dis­cov­ered that reg­u­larly walk­ing a dog boosts lev­els of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in older peo­ple, es­pe­cially dur­ing the win­ter.

The re­search, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Epi­demi­ol­ogy and Com­mu­nity Health, an­a­lysed data from a long-term study which is track­ing the health and well-be­ing of thou­sands of peo­ple liv­ing in Nor­folk.

Re­searchers from the Univer­sity of East Anglia and the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge found that own­ing or walk­ing a dog was one of the most ef­fec­tive ways to beat the usual de­cline in later-life ac­tiv­ity.

Of the 3,123 peo­ple tak­ing part in the study with an av­er­age age of 69.5, 18 per cent re­ported hav­ing a dog in their house­holds.

Two-thirds of dog own­ers walked their pets at least once a day.

The re­searchers found that reg­u­lar dog walk­ers were more ac­tive and less seden­tary on days with the poor­est con­di­tions than non-dog own­ers were on the days with the best con­di­tions.

In the worst weather, those who walked their dogs had 20 per cent higher ac­tiv­ity lev­els than non­dog own­ers and were more ac­tive for 30 min­utes each day.

The au­thors say their find­ings sug­gest that dog walk­ing “may have con­sid­er­able po­ten­tial to sup­port the main­te­nance of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in older adults and could form part of ex­er­cise on pre­scrip­tion schemes”.

So this could be a good rea­son to bring a dog into your home, a lov­ing com­pan­ion and great ex­er­cise too.

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