Several studies have shown that dogs can play a role in motivating their owners to be more active, which could lead to improved physical fitness. The key seems to lie in what researchers call “non-exercise walking.” You probably know this activity better as simply “going for a stroll.” In general, it covers any walking that’s not done for transportation or a planned workout.
According to studies like one that was published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity in 2006, dog owners do it more. In fact, the JAPA study found no other type of pet that was linked to increased non-exercise walking and a 2008 Australian study found evidence that getting a dog leads new owners to start walking more. That’s good news for dog lovers. But remember, you only get the benefits if you actually go for the walkies.