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Walking and Well-Being for People Over 60

“Let’s take a walk!” For most dogs, pulling out a leash is a sure way to set their tails wagging. For many seniors, having a dog is great motivation to get moving. And the biggest health boost comes to dog-walking owners who have the strongest bonds with their pets, according to The Journal of Gerontologist.

Positive effects tied to active pet ownership included lower body mass index, fewer reported doctor visits and less sedentary time, according to findings in The Gerontologist that were based on seniors with an average age of 67 who participated in the larger Health and Retirement Study. In this new analysis, 271 participants owned one or more dogs, while 500 did not.

Dog owners who walked their dogs showed the best health results. Non-dog owners landed somewhere in the middle. Surprisingly, the worst off were senior dog owners who did not walk their dogs. This last group reported less physical activity, more mobility limitations, more doctor visits and more chronic conditions than others in the study.

Regular sniff-and-explore walks could indicate better bonding with pets than a dogged focus on distance. Participants who dog-walked farther in a shorter time were less likely to be bonded with their pets than those who covered less ground at a more leisurely pace.

For more information about Dogwood Forest of Grayson and our pet-friendly atmosphere call 678-496-2319