Dogs are our best friends, and apparently, they’re also pretty reliable workout partners.
Results from a large-scale study show that dog owners are four times more likely to meet daily physical activity guidelines than non-dog owners.
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Dogs need to be walked, and for people living in a city or suburb, there are few other ways to get a dog to do its business than a stroll around the neighborhood.
But how many more minutes a week are dog owners actually exercising?
According to the study, most dog owners walked close to 300 minutes each week, compared to about 100 minutes of walking per week by people who didn’t own dogs. The study also found that dog owners spent slightly more time doing other forms of physical activity such as jogging, cycling, and going to the gym, and that children whose families owned dogs were much more active than children in homes without dogs.
I know what you’re thinking: This all sounds really terrific, but I don’t have a dog, nor am I planning on acquiring one in the near future: How can I get in on this dog walking action?
Thankfully, we’ve got a few suggestions.
Become a Part-Time Dog Walker
If you live in a major metropolis, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get in some part-time dog walking. Companies like Wag! specialize in connecting dogs and dog walkers. It’s also not a bad way to earn some extra pocket change.
Walk Your Neighbor’s Dog
Sure, some people like to wake up every morning at the crack of dawn to take their dog for a walk, but most would jump at the offer to have their dog walked for them. Reach out to a neighbor or friend close by and see if you can take their dog for a walk on Monday to get your week started right.
Volunteer at a Dog Shelter
This requires a little more commitment, but volunteering at an animal shelter is a terrific way to give back to the community as well as help out some animals in need of love and compassion. Be aware that some shelters may require you to complete a brief training session before working with the animals.
Walk Your Cat
This is a joke. Please don’t attempt to walk your cat.