Walking Wednesdays...

Walking ...walking..everyone knows we love to walk! Our walks are the best part of the day!!
December 14, 2009, 12:27 pm — Updated: 12:51 pm -->
The Best Walking Partner: Man vs. Dog
Is it better to walk a human or to walk a dog?

New research from the University of Missouri has found that people who walk dogs are more consistent about regular exercise and show more improvement in fitness than people who walk with a human companion. In a 12-week study of 54 older adults at an assisted living home, 35 people were assigned to a walking program for five days a week, while the remaining 19 served as a control group. Among the walkers, 23 selected a friend or spouse to serve as a regular walking partner along a trail laid out near the home. Another 12 participants took a bus daily to a local animal shelter where they were assigned a dog to walk.
To the surprise of the researchers, the dog walkers showed a big improvement in fitness, while the human walkers began making excuses to skip the workout. Walking speed among the dog walkers increased by 28 percent, compared with just a 4 percent increase among the human walkers.
“What happened was nothing short of remarkable,” said Rebecca A. Johnson, a nursing professor and director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The improvement in walking speed means their confidence in their walking ability had increased and their balance had increased. To have a 28 percent improvement in walking speed is mind boggling.”
Ms. Johnson said that because some people are afraid of dogs, the participants were given the choice of walking with a human or a dog as the companion. Ms. Johnson said the dog walkers were far more consistent in sticking with the program than those who were walking with humans.
“In the human walking group, they were regularly discouraging each other from walking,” she said. “Missouri is a hot state. We would hear them saying: ‘It’s hot today. I don’t want to walk, do you?’ ”
The response from participants in the dog-walking group — and their dog companions — was very different.
“When the people came to the animal shelter, they bounced off the bus and said, ‘Where’s my dog?”’ Ms. Johnson said. “And the dogs never gave any discouragement from walking.”
Ms. Johnson said she suspects differences will show up in other areas, like depression and anxiety, although that data are still under review and the final study has not yet been published.
But there were also other subtle indicators of improvement among the dog-walking group. Many people in the dog-walking group stopped using canes and walkers. “They would say, ‘Now I’m physically fit enough to take my dog for a walk,”’ Ms. Johnson said.
Happy Holiday Walking! Take a trek around your neighborhood in the evening and enjoy the holiday lights!


  1. And it's always fun to walk where the other puppies have walked so you can see what they have been up to! :)

  2. Hey there Olive
    Thanks for a really interesting post! I am now going to suggest to mom that I simply walk with other dogs...these humans are no longer needed! (hehe)
    Take care and wishing you a wonderful, warm and happy Christmas.

  3. ha, i'm sooooo with my beloved Max bol....

    and mumster wants me to add that she loooooves your playlist of songs, TQ


  4. They needed to study if it was better to walk a dog? All they would have needed to do was pick up the phone and call us. Quick, reliable, easy and all we would have cost is a box of Milk Bones for all of our valid data and research.

  5. Does dog dancing count too? I prefer that to walking.


  6. Dog walking combined with chasing a dog around the kitchen table because she has your underwear is the workout that's all the rave this year!! Just ask mom! lol

  7. Hi Olive,
    Very good advice. Mom sees lots of puppies and their peeps walking in our neighborhood when she takes her walk. One time she told Dad when she retired she was going to be a professional dog walker!!! LOL she is crazy like that. She said that way should be be around dogs w/o upseting the Diva Cat by bringing one home LOL x 2
    Madi and Mom

  8. Dogs, Dogs, DOGS!!!

    Mama..we sooooo need to go on a walk!!


  9. I actually notice my stress level rising when we don't get out for walks. Maye it's the barking dogs. ;)

  10. Hi, Olive!
    Your post is very informative!
    Sometimes my mom comes from work tired or not in the best mood but as soon as we go out for my walkie she feels better! It is very rare to see someone here walking dogs!
    Kisses and hugs

  11. Great article! I'm sure they could come up with hundreds of benefits of dog walking :-)

  12. Olive we just watched Lorenza open her presents you sent her!!! She certainly was excited about her gift and the presents were purrfect for her.
    Madi and Mom

  13. How interresting! Thanks for dropping by!

    Bajas, Virus and Hyssing!

  14. I like my quiet time with Sam - I can see why walking with dogs works so much better!

    Sam and Cisco


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