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If your goal is to be more physically active, here’s how your furry friend can help.

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Many people set a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. Although not based on solid scientific evidence, this number is often associated with health benefits.

Regardless of whether your goal is to walk 10,000 steps or you choose a goal that you think may be more doable for you, there’s no doubt that moving more is good for your health.

And if you own a dog, the good news is that it may be easier for you to meet your step goal than you realize. 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 a minute, which adds up to 2,200 extra steps for the day.

The average American walks about 4,000-5,000 steps a day. If you want to walk more, consider how your pooch can help you meet your goal:

  • Morning walk– Rushed for time before work? You can still find 10 minutes to take your dog for a stroll. Doing so will get you about 1,000 steps.
  • Evening walk– Walking the dog at the end of the day will not only make him happy but can help you de-stress. As an added bonus, you’ll rack up about another 2,000 steps if you walk for 20 minutes.

If you add these two walks to an average step count of 5,000 steps gained by just going about your everyday routine, you’re already at approximately 8,000 steps.

Want to get another 2,000 steps so you reach that 10,000-steps-a-day goal? All it takes is another 20 minutes or so. Here’s how to get it done:

  • Fit in another 20 minute walk with your dog – or add 10 minutes each to your morning and evening walks.
  • Take a stroll during your lunch break.
  • Head to the gym for a quick workout.
  • Find other ways to move more – park farther from your destination, pace while talking on the phone or play with the kids.

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Date Last Reviewed: June 17, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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