Can your furry best friend help you meet your walking goal? You bet! Here’s how.
These days, 10,000 steps is considered the “gold standard” when it comes to how much you should move throughout the day. This is not an official recommendation, but some research shows that doing this much physical activity, coupled with other healthy behaviors, may lead to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and metabolic disorders.
But getting 10,000 steps a day is not as easy as you think. In fact, the average American only walks about half that amount per day.
The good news is that if you’re a dog owner, you may be one step closer to meeting that lofty step goal. One recent study showed dog owners walked an average of 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn’t own a dog – and they did it at a pace of about 3 miles per hour. Walking at this pace adds about 100 steps per minute, so the dog owners walked about 2,200 more steps.
How can your dog help you walk 10,000 steps a day?
- 10 minute morning walk – Rushed for time before work? You can still find 10 minutes to take your pooch for a stroll. Doing so will get you 1,000 steps.
- 20 minute evening walk – Fido is so excited to see you at the end of the day and taking him for a walk will not only make him happy but help you de-stress. As an added bonus, you’ll rack up an additional 2,000 steps.
- Everyday activities – The average person gets in about 5,000 steps just going about their daily routine (assuming they at least get off the couch during the day).
That adds up to 8,000 steps already. But how do you get those last 2,000 steps in to meet your goal?
Take a 20 minute walk during your lunch hour, up the time you spend walking your dog (just an extra 10 minutes during each walk does the trick) or head to the gym for a quick workout. You can also get those extra steps in by gardening, playing with the kids (or the dog) or enjoying other physical activities. You only need about 20 minutes to get it done!
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Date Last Reviewed: July 22, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS