Research study demonstrates that participants in an online health promotion program are more physically active if they exercise with their dog

Source: McGill Comprehensive Health Improvement Program

During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at McGill University have observed a significant increase in daily exercise among dog owners compared to non-owners. In July 2020, over 200 Canadian adults registered for a free national online health promotion program (The Family Fitness Mission at that included daily activity tracking, social support, and personalized health coaching (provided by volunteer medical students). Among those who completed all aspects of the program, 29 participants who posted their daily activity with their dog were compared to 68 people who exercised without dogs.

During the six week program, dog owners tracked nine more days than non-owners. Even more impressive, dog owners exercised significantly more overall-the equivalent of walking 122km (76 miles) during the 42 days of the entire program or approximately 3 extra km (1.5 miles) each day.

Recent studies have demonstrated that weight gain is common in most countries during the pandemic due to social isolation, poor eating habits, and a reduction in daily exercise. Dogs have also been gaining “pandemic pounds” given less frequent walks with their owners.

Accordingly, this month the Drop 5 Program will focus on helping adults lose the extra pounds gained during the past 6 months.

For those participants with a dog at home, they are also being encouraged to exercise with their canine friends so that they can support each others exercise habits while losing the extra pounds together.

For more information on the research study results or the Drop 5 Mission Health Promotion Program contact:

Dr Steven Grover, Professor of Medicine, McGill University, and co-director of the MissionVAV Project (Funded by Veterans Affairs Canada)

Dr Steven Grover

McGill Comprehensive Health Improvement Program

+1 514-791-5688

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September 29, 2020