Cutting calories and working out consistently aren’t the only waist-whittling hacks that’ll get you into tip-top shape. According to a new study, being a dog parent can help you drop the pounds, rain or shine! The researchers studied 3,100 participants of which 18 percent owned dogs (two-thirds of them walked their dogs at least once daily). The average age of the participants was 70, while 57 percent were women, and everyone wore accelerometers to track physical activity. The resulting data showed that those who walked their pets regularly, whether or not the weather permitted, had 20 percent higher activity levels and were more active for a half hour each day than those who didn’t own a furry friend.
“It’s no surprise that dog walkers are more active, but we were surprised by how big the difference is,” explained study author Andy Jones of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. “If we could achieve that level of activity with everybody, it would go a long way in dealing with problems of obesity and aging.”
What’s more, consistent dog walkers were more active on the coldest days than those who didn’t own pets or didn’t walk their pets often on warm days! If you’ve never paid the shelter a visit, make sure to stay active during inclement weather (such as by hitting the gym or YouTubing a home workout). And if you’re a proud pet parent, make sure you’re not feeding Fido the 10 Worst Ingredients In Your Dog Food.