A recent study has indicated that elderly people (those over 65 and over) who own a dog will a) lead a less sedentary life and b) take more than 2,500 extra steps than their dog-ownerless peers. Given that the WHO recommended physical activity levels are at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, with the additional 22 minute average of dog walking involved, this goal is more likely to be reached.
The BMC Public Health Study used 43 dog owners and 43 controls (in this demographic) to calculate their findings. Walking, sitting, standing activities were monitored (and timed) and the result was that those with dogs were more easily able to reach higher levels of physical activity/maintain physical activity levels than those without. As such, it was more likely that they would have a higher quality of life as well as improved/maintained cognition. In some cases this could even lead to longer life spans.
And as Glasgow Caledonian University doctoral student Philippa Dall (who led the study) pointed out:
“Over the course of a week this additional time spent walking may in itself be sufficient to meet WHO recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity.”