The Family Dog Helps Keep Older Adults Active


Reuters Health reported the results of a study this week that senior citizens who live with dogs meet exercise goals simply by walking them. Researchers matched 43 older adults with dogs to another 43 without dogs and measured their time spent walking. Compared to those without canine companions, dog owners walked on average 23 minutes more a day – enough to meet U.S. and international exercise recommendations for substantial health benefits, the research found.

“We saw a big increase in healthy activity and at a level that is considered to be health promoting.”


“If you’d like to get a dog, don’t be put off by the fact you’re elderly. It’s good for the dog, and it’s good for you.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults do a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity a week.

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for overall health and it is the one intervention that in and of itself has been proven to decrease the risk of falling. Lack of exercise/movement leads to weakness, decreased balance, and decreased circulation, which will increase your falls risk and make you more vulnerable to other medical conditions.

You are never too old to start exercising. For fall prevention, focus on lower extremity strengthening and flexibility exercises along with specific balance exercises. If you do not know how to start exercising please consult your doctor and local physical therapist.

SOURCE: BMC Public Health 2017. Reuters Health Information © 2017 Walking Their Dogs Keeps Elderly Active – Medscape – Jun 09, 2017.

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