Your dog – your fitness trainer

If you have a dog, you must go for a walk in all kinds of weather at any time. The dog doesn’t mind the weather. In the rain, wind and snow it’s not always the favorite activity for the dog owner. But it keeps them active. So, it’s obvious that dogs encourage their owners to exercise more.

How effective this impact is was determined by researchers from the University of East Anglia.
Their conclusion: on average, the dog owners were more active even in the worst weather than the non-dog owners on the most beautiful days.

 

Fresh air, the chirping of the birds and gentle movements. Everyone would like to start the day that way. Especially dog owners enjoy this “luxury”. Although it is not always completely voluntarily, this is associated with many health benefits. Generally, dog owners go for a walk twice a day. In every weather and time of the day. No wonder that dog owners are more active and have a more resistant immune system.

In recent years, researchers have been studying the effect of owning a dog on physical activation.

 

„Dog ownership supports the maintenance of physical activity during poor weather in older English adults: cross-sectional results from the EPIC Norfolk cohort”

The research team used data from a European long-term study (EPIC study). They analyzed about 3100 participants, who were 69 years old, lived in Norfolk and carried a pedometer for seven days. Approximately 1/5 of the participants had a dog, about 2/3 of them go with the pet at least once a day.

Pedometer data and weather reports were evaluated to examine how active the participants were in good and bad weather.

Results

The results show that dog owners moved 30 minutes more every day than dog-free participants.
Surprisingly, people with dogs are longer physically active on average, even on the darkest and rainiest days, than people without dogs on the warmest and sunniest days of the study.
Reasons for that are besides their own fitness, that dogs need regular physical activity as well. This could possibly be a good motivation.

 

Positive effects from more movement

Another positive effect from regular walks with the dog is the strengthening of the immune system, which is particularly important during the cold seasons. Regular exercise trains the cardiovascular system and reduces weight.

And the mind benefits as well. Playing and cuddling with the dog relaxes the autonomic nervous system, which affects our overall well-being.

 

Fitness-dog effect in the HRV-spectrogram

Miss A goes for a walk with her dog at least twice a day. For this measurement, Miss A has come up with a special training and walked over hill and dale. The HRV measurement shows clearly from 4 pm that Miss A has been in the developing area most of the time. That would probably not have been possible without regular training or walks.

Also, the detail result „physical performance“ shows clearly, how fit Miss A is.

 

Results from the Autonom Health Analysis portal:

On a scale from 1-10, her physical performance is 8.54, the average value of a woman with the same age is 7.26. Her physical performance is thus 81% above the peer group. It is satisfactory. She has the resources she needs to face physical challenges. But she has to watch out for the signs of her body and ensure adequate activation.

 

 

And post-exercise recovery, which is judged by the decrease in average heart rate, speed and the extent of increase in HRV, is also excellent. On a grading scale from 1-5, where 1 is very good and 5 is bad, Miss A’s recovery is rated with 1.5 after the activity. This is even below average.

 

Conclusion

Even fitter certainly keeps the flight from a cheetah. For a simple solution, take a walk with a dog. Because: a dog keeps you fit!

 

Original study: https://jech.bmj.com/content/71/9/905

Image source: Adobe Stock Photo – Lunja, File Number 180346706


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