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In a study carried out by Bob Martin, we found that dog owners were getting longer, more regular exercise and enjoyment from walking their dogs than those that use the gym, exercise that they wouldn’t otherwise be getting.

Is dog walking exercise?

With the average dog owner taking their dog for a walk twice each day, for an average of 24 minutes each walk, this comes to a total of 5 hours, 35 minutes exercise per week!

The research results show that owners take their dogs for an extended walk three times per week, which meant a further 2 hours 33 minutes exercise for the owners and the dogs.

In total, this is around 8 hours a week for a dog owner. In comparison to those without a dog who spend an average of just 1 hour 20 minutes per week exercising by going to the gym or heading out for a stroll or jog.

Almost half (47%) of non-pet owners admit they do absolutely no exercise whatsoever.

The difference between the two groups was that going to the gym can feel like a chore while dog walking can be far more enjoyable.

A couple of short walks a day soon adds up and this research shows that it amounts to more time than people spend in the gym, and whilst gym-goers exercise inside an air-conditioned gym, dog walkers are able to rack up the miles and enjoy fresh air whilst admiring the local views.

The Figures:

The study included 5,000 people from the UK, including 3,000 dog owners.

  • 57% of those see walking the dog as their main form of exercise
  • 3/4 said they would rather take their dog for a walk than go to the gym
  • 86% said they enjoyed taking their pet out each day
  • Only 22% said they sometimes see it as a chore
  • 16% said they enjoyed exercising in the gym
  • Almost 70% considered the gym a chore

The survey showed that having a dog to walk actually encourages regular exercise with 60% of pet owners saying they always go for a walk with their dog – even when time is precious

Benefits of exercise to owners and dogs – physical fitness and mental health

The benefits of exercising includes building muscle mass, improving circulation and reducing stress levels, and exercising with a dog is proven to keep motivation and confidence levels up. Similarly, with dogs, a range of exercises such as hiking, (or even surfing and yoga!) tire them out physically and mentally, which is beneficial to owners of energetic dogs.  

Building an exercise routine with your dog

When it comes to building a routine with your dog, it’s important to remember that dogs get bored of the same routine just like humans. To keep your dog engaged, healthy, reduce anxiety and bad behavioural levels, try out different exercises which best benefit you and your dog, mixing them up regularly. 

How to exercise with your dog:

  • Walking, jogging, or running with your dog for 30 minutes helps to improve fitness levels and build stamina
  • Cycling with your dog for 30 minutes keeps them mentally stimulated as well as improving fitness levels
  • Yoga with your dog for 30 minutes helps them to stay calm, read your body language, improve behaviour and a great opportunity to bond
  • Outdoor exercises with dogs that have high energy levels includes kayaking, surfing and paddle boarding, which is a good mix of physical and mental exercise 

For more pet tips, check out our blog pages here. And if you enjoyed this read, you might want to take a look at our article here on reducing stress and anxiety in your dog.

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