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Older dog walkers more active

26 July 2017 09:07

Older dog walkers are more active during winter, says study

Older dog walkers are more active during winter, says study

Older dog owners have been given a boost with the news that walking their pets keeps them more active.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia and the University of Cambridge say older dog owners spend less time in the day being sedentary than people who choose to not have a dog.

Winter walking

Interestingly, this was particularly the case in winter. With dog owners more active during the coldest months than non dog owners were in the summer.

Naturally, people are less inclined to go outside in wind and rain, but of course dog owners have little choice - their pets still need walking.

Project lead Professor Andy Jones, from UEA, said: "We were amazed to find that dog walkers were on average more physically active and spent less time sitting on the coldest, wettest and darkest days than non-dog owners were on long, sunny, and warm summer days."

Older people can also stretch their legs to a backdrop of winter sun with a holiday to warmer climes. Don't forget to arrange specialist seniors travel insurance.

The numbers

Researchers looked at data from a long-term study tracking the health and well-being of Norfolk people with an average age of 69.5. Of the fifth who were dog owners, over 60% took their dog for at least one walk every day.

In the worst weather, those who walked their dogs had 20% higher activity levels than non-dog owners and were more active for 30 minutes each day.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.