Getting a dog sounds like a great excuse to get outside and get fit, doesn’t it? Yet, can simply walking really hold a candle to more rigorous fitness like a 1-mile run, a spin class or weight lifting with a personal trainer? Will Walking My Dog Help Me Lose Weight?
I’ve had a puppy for the past 4 months. We walk for a total of two hours a day and frankly, sometimes I break quite a sweat. During this time, my weight has fluctuated within five pounds and I’ve wondered, “Is it really possible to drop a few pounds this way, can walking my dog help me lose weight?” So I looked to expert research to be sure.
Research About Walking Your Dog To Lose Weight
- The American College of Sports Medicine found that owners who walked their pets had lower Body Mass Index scores and accelerometer (step-counting) scores 11 percent higher than those who did not walk their dogs. In their study, most dog walkers spent at least 25 minutes per week walking their dogs and 27 percent went for the recommended 150 minutes per week. Unfortunately, a third of dog owners did not walk their dogs at all.
- A UK study of 5,000 Britons found that dog owners get more exercise than people with gym memberships. On average, dog owners take their pooches out for 24 minutes, twice a day. In addition, most owners take their dogs out for three longer walks a week, adding another 2.33 hours, bringing the grand total of exercise time to 8 hours and 11 minutes a week. By contrast, Britons with gym memberships spent 1 hour and 20 minutes going to the gym or jogging and 47 percent of non-pet owners admitted they have “little to no” exercise at all. They also found that dog owners looked forward to taking their dogs out, whereas people with gym memberships looked for excuses not to go.
- A University of Michigan study also confirmed that dog owners were 34 percent more likely to meet their target fitness goals of at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.
- Furthermore, a University of Missouri study had a group of participants start walking dogs 10 minutes per day, three days per week, gradually working up to 20 minutes per day, five days per week. While the weight loss was not statistically significant after 26 weeks, researchers found the average person lost 14 pounds after 50 weeks!
Naturally, the amount of weight lost will depend upon how fast you walk. According to FitDay, I could burn 101 calories an hour walking at a snail’s pace or I could really haul it and burn 236 calories per hour. Most likely, walking the dog will burn about 168 calories, the website contends. Then, of course, there are dietary habits to factor in. Walking the dog is not going to save me from eating out at Mexican restaurants or marathon drinking at summer barbecues is what I’m saying here.
- On the other hand, some studies indicate dog walking is not a valid way to lose weight at all. A Northwestern Memorial Hospital study of 36 people found that dog owners did not lose more weight than their pet-less peers.
Yet, the support network of having a person or a dog to walk with makes it easier to stick with healthy habits, Dr. Robert F. Kushner M.D. found. What’s really important is that you’re getting out of the house and burning calories doing something you enjoy.
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|Article: Jennn FusionTwitter: @jennnfusion|