The Surgeon General of the US has issued a call to action encouraging people to walk 150 minutes a week, or 20 minutes a day. Why? Because even such a moderate amount of activity can decrease the incidence of 41 diseases. Each walk boosts the immune system for 24 hours. One mile a day can reduce by 13 per cent your chance of a cognitive decline.
And that is where those dogs come in. Rinus Jaasma did some interesting research on walking the dog in the Netherlands. On a national basis, walking the dog covers 40 per cent of all daily trips on foot as reported in the Dutch mobility research. This may actually be underreported, as most of these dog walks happen in the early morning or late night. Dog walkers stay a longer time in parks and outdoor spaces compared to the duration of trips with other motives. Because of their high numbers, Jaasma recommends that careful consideration be taken for planning pedestrian facilities in residential areas to allow for good walking for people and pooches on streets to and from park and dog areas.
A study of dog owners in western Canada from the University of Victoria concluded that dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes a week compared to non dog owners who walked 162 minutes a week. People who owned dogs participated in more physical activity. Acquiring a dog can make you more physically active, and give you a real reason to get out walking in the rain.