Owning a dog may be one the best ways to stay active, according to a new study that found canine owners walk considerably more than their dog-free counterparts.
The study, performed by researchers at Michigan State University, found that dog owners who took their pets on regular walks exercised for about 30 minutes more per week than those who do not. Moreover, dog owners may have lower life insurance rates, as 60 percent met the federal criteria for moderate or vigorous exercise, according to the report, while nearly half got their blood pumping for an average of 150 minutes per week. Only a third of those people without dogs were likely to get as much exercise.
Mathew Reeves, the lead author of the report, told the New York Times that owning a dog forces an owner to get up and be active during times when they would normally give into their coach-potato urges.
"Our dogs demand that you take them out at 10 o'clock at night, when it's the last thing you feel like doing. They're not going to leave you alone until they get their walk in," Reeves said, referring to the two Labrador mixes he personally owns.
Having a relationship with man's best friend has been shown to have other health benefits as well. A 2007 U.K. study discovered having a pet dog can reduce stress in owners and help them recover faster when they become ill.