Walking your dog means better health for both of you

- One of the biggest benefits of having a dog is that extra exercise you get when you take your pup for a walk.

We often treat our dogs just like a member of the family, but if your four-legged friend could talk he might say, he how about a walk once in a while.

According to one recent study despite the known health benefits of dog-walking, almost half of dog owners do not walk their dogs regularly.

Dr. Michael Roizen is a wellness expert at Cleveland Clinic who says people were less likely to walk if they or their dog were older or obese.

"What they found when questioning these 50,000 people is just about half of them walk their dog regularly. Who didn't? Those who were more obese, those who were older, those who had dogs who were older, those who had dogs who were obese, and those who had dogs who were small.

Roizen says not walking your dog can mean missing out on the health benefits of owning one.

He says that previous research has shown that dog-walkers are more likely than other folks to get regular exercise into their week.

Roizen says walking your dog can lower your blood pressure and make you about one year younger.

He says it’s important to note that an hour of dog walking only amounts to a half an hour of steps, since dogs tend to stop frequently during walks.

Roizen says even when your dog stops, you shouldn’t. He recommends walking in place or in circles around your dog when he stops to check things out.

And even if you don’t have a dog, Roizen still recommends getting out and taking a walk. 

"Whether you've got a big dog, a small dog, a fat dog, whatever kind of dog you've got, even if you don't have one, what can you do if you don't have a dog? Go to the park and walk your friend," he said.

Roizen says that there isn't any research that shows the exercise benefits of owning a cat, but that doesn’t mean that cat owners shouldn't get out and walk too.

And by the way there are plenty of other benefits to owning a cat or a dog that have to do with lowering your blood pressure and the release of the feel good hormones.


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