Washington D.C.: Pet dogs may help older people to achieve physical activity levels, recommended by the World Health Organisation, suggests a study.
Philippa Dall, the lead author of the study said, dog owners, aged 65 and over, spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking, taking an extra 2,760 steps per day when compared to people, who did not own a dog.
The researchers monitored physical activity and sedentary behavior in 43 dog owners and 43 controls from three regions in the U.K. The participants were wore an activity monitor continuously during three, one-week data collection periods between April 2013 and November 2014.
The time spent walking moderately, time spent standing, total time spent sitting, as well as the number of times people sat down and how long they sat down for, was well estimated.Nancy Gee, a co-author of the study said, "Our results indicate that dog ownership may play an important role in encouraging older adults to walk more."
"This encouragement would improve their prospects for a better quality of life, improved or maintained cognition, and perhaps, even overall longevity", she added.The study has been published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.