Some people love cats. Some people love dogs. Some people believe your preference offers insight to your personality. You have probably heard variations on this idea. WebMD offered the example that cat owners are open, curious, creative thinkers, while dog owners are outgoing, enthusiastic, self-disciplined planners.
Recently, a bit of data emerged that may please dog owners in Britain. It seems canines in the United Kingdom are outstanding personal trainers. A University of Liverpool study, published in April in Scientific Reports, found:
“The odds of [dog owners] meeting current physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week were four times greater than for [people who don’t own dogs]. Children with dogs reported more minutes of walking and free-time (unstructured) activity. Dog ownership is associated with more recreational walking and considerably greater odds of meeting [physical activity] guidelines…It is recommended that adults undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical (MVPA) activity per week.”
British dogs are better at ensuring their owners get enough exercise than American and Australian dogs. In both the United States and Australia, a significant number of dog owners reported their dogs live outside and exercise on their own.
Few cats are willing be leashed and taken for walks, so cat ownership is less likely to help owners meet physical activity goals. Regardless, cat owners may realize some health benefits. A University of Minnesota study found cat owners were 30 percent less likely to die from heart attacks or strokes than non-cat owners. It remains unclear whether cats help lower stress and anxiety or cat owners tend to have low-stress personalities.