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NewsBites September 2017 Issue

Fido May Help You Get Fit

Dreamstime.com

A dog may provide the nudge you need to be more physically active as you get older, suggests a new study in BioMed Central Public Health. "Older adults who owned a dog walked at a moderate pace for an average of 22 minutes a day longer than those who didn't own a dog," says Philippa Dall, PhD, lead author of the study and a senior research fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland. "In a week's time, the additional time spent walking was equivalent to meeting the minimum physical activity guidelines (150 minutes a week) for US adults."

The study involved 86 British volunteers, ages 65 and older, about half of whom owned dogs. The people wore activity monitors continuously for three different one-week periods. Although the study can’t prove owning a dog will make you more active, one of its strengths was that it relied on an objective measure of physical activity rather than self-reports, in contrast to previous studies.

To learn more: BMC Public Health, June 2017

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