Owning pet dogs may help older people stay healthy

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ISLAMABAD: A new study has suggested that pet dogs may help older people achieve physical activity levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Philippa Dall, the lead author of the study, said that dog owners, aged 65 and over, spent on average, an additional 22 minutes walking, taking 2,760 extra steps per day when compared to people who did not own a dog.

The researchers monitored physical activity and sedentary behaviour in 43 dog owners and 43 controls from three regions in the UK. The participants wore an activity monitor continuously during three, one-week data collection periods between April 2013 and November 2014, Medical Daily reported.

The time spent walking moderately, time spent standing, total time spent sitting, as well as the number of times people sat down and the duration they sat for was 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.