Anyone who owns a dog knows that rain or shine, snow or fair weather, the dog needs to be walked or they’re going to mess up the house. As it happens, walking your dog or any dog is beneficial. To the dog, of course, but also to the walker. Dogs can be great for accountability. You can’t easily skip a day of dog walking unless you want to clean up puddles in your home. A study that looked at exercise in older adults found that those who had to walk a dog, their own or someone else’s, got more exercise than those who did not have a dog. It’s hard to keep up with an exercise routine in the winter when days are shorter and colder, but our furry friends don’t know the seasonal differences, they need to go out, no matter what the season and that is helpful to their human companions.
Concerns that “sitting is the new smoking” are valid, but for those who own or are responsible for dogs, time spent sitting was significantly less than those who don’t have a dog that needs to be walked every day, regardless of weather. Many research studies have also validated the importance of pets for older adults, both for exercise and companionship. Apparently, if you want to stick to a walking routine and have a friend as well, a dog is a good way to manage that.