No Surprise: Teens Living With Dogs get More Exercise

 |  Feb 13th 2011  |   3 Contributions


Dog Walkphoto 2010 OakleyOriginals | more info (via: Wylio)
My pal Buster needs his walks. Many times I have been tired and not interested in leaving the house, but forced to get out and walk around the neighborhood with my dog. Many other times I have planned a special day (usually in nice weather) that involved a long walk in the city with my pal.

There is no doubt that I get more exercise as a result of living with a dog. So I'm not surprised to learn I'm not alone.

MSNBC reports that teens living with dogs exercise more.

[Researchers] surveyed 618 pairs of Minneapolis adolescents and their parents about the number of dogs in their home, and how much time they spent doing physical activities. For one week, 318 of those teens also wore accelerometers, which are wrist watch-like devices that collect data regarding how and when the body is moving.

Teens from dog-owning families recorded greater amounts of movement on the accelerometers, even after researchers took into account demographic variables, such as gender, race and socioeconomic status.

An interesting finding of the study: dog walking may be on teens' chore list. This is good news for teens (a fun and easy "chore" and more exercise to boot), but bad news for the parents who miss out on the exercise and fresh air provided by dog walking.

The finding was unexpected because the researchers anticipated the dog-walking responsibilities would be taken by the parents. "We hypothesized it would have an effect on adults, but we didn't see that. We saw it in the kids," Sirard said.

Any good researchers acknowledge the weaknesses in their findings, and the ones in this story do this. They state that simply adopting a dog may not be enough to get a lazy, Wii-addicted teen off the sofa.

It could be that more active people choose to have dogs, because the pet already fits their lifestyle.

On that note, it's time to move away from the computer and get Buster out for his walk.

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