Walk Your Dog for Better Health

According to one recent study, despite the known health benefits of dog-walking, almost half of dog owners do not walk their dogs regularly. Wellness expert Michael Roizen, M.D., comments.

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CLEVELAND – Everyone with a dog knows that it’s common to treat our furry friends just like members of the family.

However, according to one recent study, despite the known health benefits of dog-walking, almost half of dog owners do not walk their dogs regularly.

Michael Roizen, M.D., a wellness expert at Cleveland Clinic, did not take part in the study, but said it showed that certain people were less likely to walk their dogs than others.

“What they found when questioning these 50,000 people is just about half of them walk their dog regularly,” said Dr. Roizen. Who didn’t? Those who were more obese, those who were older, those who had dogs who were older, those who had dogs who were obese, and those who had dogs who were small.”

Dr. Roizen said not walking the dog can mean missing out on the health benefits of owning one.

Previous research has shown that dog-walkers are more likely than other people to get regular exercise into their week.

Dr. Roizen said walking a dog can lower blood pressure and make a person’s age about one year younger.

He said it’s important to remember though, that an hour of dog walking only amounts to a half an hour of steps, since dogs tend to stop frequently during walks.

“When we look at it by a pedometer; when we actually measure it on the pedometer; you’re only getting about half the steps because when the dog stops you stop and when the dog’s sniffing, you’re not walking,” said Dr. Roizen.

Dr. Roizen said even when our dog stops, we shouldn’t. He recommends walking in place or in circles around the dog when it stops to ‘check things out.’

For those who are not dog owners, Dr. Roizen still recommends getting out and taking a walk.

“Whether you’ve got a big dog, a small dog, a fat dog – whatever kind of dog you’ve got – even if you don’t have one, walk your dog,” said Dr. Roizen. “What can you do if you don’t have a dog? Go to the park and walk your friend.”

Dr. Roizen said there isn’t any research that shows the health benefits of owning a cat, but that doesn’t mean that cat owners shouldn’t get out and walk too.

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