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Dog owners more active in old age

Older dog owners are likely to be more physically active in the winter than people of similar age are in the summer, being sedentary for 30 minutes less per day, a new study has found.

Older dog owners are likely to be more physically active in the winter than people of similar age are in the summer, being sedentary for 30 minutes less per day, a new study has found

dog
Owning or walking a dog is one of the most effective ways
to improve activity in later life. Picture: iStock

Older dog owners are likely to be more physically active in the winter than people of similar age are in the summer, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia and University of Cambridge found owning or walking a dog was one of the most effective ways to improve activity in later life.

More than 3,000 older adults wore an accelerometer, a small electronic device to constantly measure physical activity, over a seven-day period.

Biggest barriers

Poor weather and short days are recognised as one of the biggest barriers to staying active outdoors, so researchers linked data to weather conditions and daylight hours.

Dog owners were sedentary for 30 minutes less per day, on average.

Project lead Andy Jones said the research found dog owners were more active on cold, wet days, than non-dog owners on warm, sunny days.


Wu Y et al (2017) Dog ownership supports the maintenance of physical activity during poor weather in older English adults: cross-sectional results from the EPIC Norfolk cohort. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. doi: 10.1136/jech-2017-208987

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