Dog owners three times more likely to keep in shape than non-pet owners

(KC Press Release) Dog owners are taking the lead in living healthier and more active lifestyles, as a survey reveals that a staggering 25 percent of non-pet owners do not take any form of exercise at all, compared to just 12 percent of dog owners.

One in two people who don’t own a pet are overweight and only 12 percent exercise daily, compared to 40 percent of people who own a dog.

The research has been commissioned by the Kennel Club as part of the ‘Get Fit with Fido’ 2013 campaign, which aims to help people to find fun and enjoyable ways to exercise with their dogs.

While non-pet owners came out as the most overweight and the least likely to exercise, the research revealed that in the battle of the bulge, cat owners also lag behind dog owners, with one in five admitting that they take no exercise at all and only 18 percent exercising daily.

More than 60 percent of cat owners admit to not taking any steps to increase their fitness recently and 8 percent of cat owners say they are obese.

(Pic: Joanna Ludley)

Unsurprisingly, the survey found walking to be the most popular form of exercise, with 40 percent of people revealing it was their main form of exercise and 40 percent of dog owners saying they walked their dog for 1-2 hours at a time.

The survey also found that the recession is having an effect, as more than 60 percent of dog and cat owners admit to no longer spending any money a month on exercise, making dog walking an even more attractive option.

The Kennel Club launched its Get Fit With Fido campaign in 2008 in response to the obesity epidemic in dogs and their owners. Supported by Rosemary Conley, the campaign gives people inspiring and interesting ideas for exercising with their dog, from simple dog walks to increasingly popular sports including agility and heelwork to music.

Rosemary Conley, the renowned exercise guru who backs the Kennel Club’s Get Fit With Fido Campaign, said: “It is shocking to see that so many people not only fail to exercise daily but many are failing to exercise at all.

“Daily exercise is so important for preventing obesity related illnesses such as heart disease, which is one of the biggest killers. Just half an hour of exercise a day will increase your metabolism, helping you to keep fit and stay in shape.

“Too many people see exercise as a chore, but dog owners can enjoy spending quality time walking their dog, or taking part in sports such as agility, whilst keeping fit in the process.”

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “It is vital that dogs get at least one walk a day, but at the time we started this campaign we were seeing worrying levels of obesity as they were mirroring their owners’ sedentary lifestyles.

“Whilst we cannot be complacent, it is reassuring to see that dog owners are the people most likely to exercise in this country, and at a time when money is tight and gym memberships dear, exercise with your dog is free or inexpensive, so is a great way to get fit.

“Get Fit With Fido was set up to inspire dog owners to find new and different ways to get fit with their dog. Just 15 minutes of brisk walking can burn 100 calories and agility is a fantastic way to keep fit. An hour of agility training can burn up to 700 calories for owners.”

Former Olympic swimmer and supporter of Get Fit With Fido, Sharron Davies commented: “Taking part in agility is a fantastic way for owners and their four-legged friends to improve both their health and fitness, as well as having lots of fun. Dogs make the perfect training partner and can motivate owners to put in the extra work to get fit.

“It’s so important not only to keep yourself fit, but your dog too. Obesity is a problem in dogs as well as humans and getting fit with Fido is a fun alternative.”

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