Unlike other studies of dog ownership and walking, this one also tracked other forms of exercise, seeking to answer what the lead author, Mathew Reeves, called an obvious question: whether dog walking “adds significantly to the amount of exercise you do, or is it simply that it replaces exercise you would have done otherwise?”But plenty of dogs are still just four-legged yard art:
The answers were encouraging, said Dr. Reeves, an associate professor of epidemiology at Michigan State. The dog walkers had higher overall levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activity than the other subjects, and they were more likely to take part in other leisure-time physical activities like sports and gardening. On average, they exercised about 30 minutes a week more than people who didn’t have dogs.
The researchers asked owners who didn’t walk their pets to explain why. About 40 percent said their dogs ran free in a yard, so they didn’t need walks; 11 percent hired dog walkers.And it's not just walking. This morning, for instance, I took a long-handled shovel up to the Forest Service road to bury a skunk, dead of disease or from the infrequent traffic there, I don't know which.
I just did not want Fisher to find it and bring it home as a new chew toy.
So, researchers, you may count grave-digging as dog-related exercise too.