Who´s walking who? – Dogs as catalysts for human physical activity in the population
Help me to help you: The rationale behind dog walking
Traditionally, we think of “walking the dog” as a strategy to maintain the health of our four-legged companions. Dogs who are walked regularly have to opportunity to interact with other dogs and dog-owners, show fewer behavioural problems, and may even live longer.
But dog walking may also pose health benefits for the owners themselves. Dogs appear to be catalysts for physical activity, providing their owners with the motivation to walk and thus leading to long-term engagement in regular physical activity [Lim 2016]. Dogs may also act as social catalysts, with the potential to improve emotional and social wellbeing by facilitating and increasing human interaction. Consider the rules of social interaction in public places, for example. Other than to ask for directions or assistance with a selfie, talking to strangers usually gets you labelled as a creep. On the other hand, casually striking up a conversation with the owner of some adorable Golden Labrador in a dog park? Perfectly acceptable.
Given the high rates of dog ownership worldwide – 27% of households in the UK own a dog, 39% of Australian households and 50% of households in the United States – it is highly likely that dog walking will be widely accepted as a public health intervention.
Autor / Fonte:BMJ Blogs