What's the Best Way for the Elderly to Stay Active? Own a Dog!

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: June 10, 2017 09:56 IST

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What's the Best Way for the Elderly to Stay Active? Own a Dog!
Highlights
  • Exercise plays an even more crucial role for the elderly
  • Dog owners aged over 65 spent an additional 22 minutes walking
  • WHO recommendations of at least 150 minutes of physical activity
Leading an active life can help a great deal in making one healthy and live longer. Regular physical activity works in many ways to boost the daily functions of the body. It regulates metabolism, digestion, blood circulation, blood pressure and prevents obesity and diabetes. Exercise plays an even more crucial role for the elderly to keep them active. There are many activities they can engage in - from brisk walking to swimming, as well as owning a dog. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, and according to a study done by Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland, owning a dog may help older adults meet their physical activity levels.

The study showed that dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking, taking an extra 2,760 steps per day when compared to people who didn't own a dog.



"Over the course of a week this additional time spent walking may in itself be sufficient to meet WHO recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity," said lead author Philippa Dall. Further, dog owners had fewer sedentary events - continuous periods of sitting down - than non-dog owners.



"Our results indicate that dog ownership may play an important role in encouraging older adults to walk more," added Nancy Gee from WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, a Britain-based research organisation.

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Dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking; Image credit: Istock

More About the Study

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For the study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, the team used data on patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in 43 dog owners and 43 controls, aged 65 years and over. The researchers monitored the time spent walking moderately, time spent standing, total time spent sitting, as well as the number of times people sat down and how long they sat down for.



The study highlighted that pet ownership may help older people achieve higher levels of physical activity or maintain their physical activity levels for a longer period of time, which could improve their prospects for a better quality of life, improved or maintained cognition, and perhaps, even overall longevity.

CommentsInputs from IANS



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