Getting Fit With Your Dog

Skip the gym!
By Karen B. London PhD, January 2010, Updated June 2021

A recent study in Great Britain found that people with dogs exercise more than those who work out at the gym. The difference was considerable. People with dogs exercised for an average of eight hours a week compared to the two hours a week of people going to the gym.

 
The researchers speculate that the difference may be because more people (86 percent) enjoy the time that they spend walking their dogs compared with the 16 percent of people who say that they enjoy going to the gym. Perhaps the fact that walking our dogs is generally a positive experience accounts for the observation that people are more likely to walk their dogs when short on time than to go to the gym when similarly busy.
 
So, if you love walking your dog, but are not so crazy about going to the gym, you are in good company. The combination of lots of little walks and some longer walks during the week can really add up to a considerable amount of exercise.

 

 Image: iStock

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life