Quantifying the benefits of owning a dog

Just how good is dog walking for you? Older dog owners who walked their dogs at least once a day got 20 percent more physical activity than people without dogs, a British study found, and spent 30 fewer minutes a day being sedentary, on average. Regular exercise has well-known benefits for health and longevity.

For the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers used data from 3,123 men and women, median age around 70, living in Norfolk who wore an activity monitor for seven days. The data recorded was crosschecked against meteorological information.