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If You're Not a Dog Person, Maybe You Should Be

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benefits of owning dog Via Unsplash

If you’ve ever considered purchasing the fixings for a home gym, you’ve likely been deterred by high costs.

A treadmill alone can range anywhere from $400 to $4,000 depending on the model. When you throw in weights, an elliptical, a bench, StairMaster or whatever else you want to fill out your home gym, the price tag continues to inflate.

As it turns out, 2011’s most efficient piece of equipment may rest in your backyard and cost less than what its worth.

Recent studies have found that the four-legged furry creatures we call "man’s best friend" have immediate and lasting effects on our fitness.

According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, not only are dog owners more likely to take regular walks, but new research shows that dog walkers are more active overall than people who don’t have dogs.

It is also more likely for older people to take regular walks if the walking companion is canine rather than human.

Researchers from Michigan State University reported in March 2011 that among dog owners who took their pets for regular walks, 60 percent met federal criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise. Nearly half of dog walkers exercised an average of 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. By comparison, only about a third of those without dogs got that much regular exercise.

“It’s good for both ends of the leash,” said Rebecca A. Johnson, director of the human-animal interaction research center at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.

As reported by the New York Times, the researchers tracked the exercise habits of 5,900 people in Michigan, including 2,170 who owned dogs. They found that about two-thirds of dog owners took their pets for regular walks, defined as lasting at least 10 minutes.

Unlike other studies of dog ownership and walking, this one also tracked other forms of exercise, seeking to answer what lead author on the study, Mathew Reeves, calls an obvious question: whether dog walking “adds significantly to the amount of exercise you do, or is it simply that it replaces exercise you would have done otherwise?”

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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