A dog walk a day keeps old age at bay

Seniors who walk regularly with dogs reap many benefits.
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Nov 05, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

The findings of a new study offer the opportunity to tell your senior clients about the healthy rewards of daily exercise in the form of dog-walking. According to an article in USA Today, a professor from the University of Missouri studied whether walking with a human or canine companion would benefit seniors.

People aged 74 to 87 participated in the study and were to walk with a shelter dog or another person five days a week for 12 weeks. If they walked with a fellow human, the participants were more likely to talk themselves out of a walk because of things like bad weather or feeling ill. However, those who walked with a shelter dog felt a sense of duty and were more faithful to the outings.

But best of all, seniors who walked with dogs were able to increase their walking speed, improve their balance, and boost their confidence over the course of the study. All of these factors can lead to a prolonged good quality of life.

This study may inspire you to start a walking program in your community for seniors and shelter dogs—two groups that crave companionship. And it's further evidence to help you encourage your senior clients to hit the sidewalk with their pets regularly.