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Walking the Dog Benefits You, Too

THURSDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Taking your dog for a walk is good for both of you.

Walking helps control blood pressure and weight, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery.

"The need to provide daily walks for a dog is great for dog owners as well," vascular surgeon Dr. Leila Mureebe said in a society news release. "Exercise is good for the body's blood supply, for maintaining proper body weight and for controlling blood pressure."

A recent U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study of 2,000 adults found that those who regularly walked their dogs were more physically active and less likely to be obese than those who didn't walk dogs.

"A brisk 30-minute walk with your dog is good for both of you," Mureebe said.

During the summer, it's best to walk in the early morning or evening, to limit sun exposure and reduce the risk of heat stroke for both you and your dog.

Dogs can offer other health benefits. For example, studies have found that petting a dog reduces people's blood pressure and heart rate, the Society for Vascular Surgery said.

About 77.5 million dogs live in 39 percent of U.S. households, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Society for Vascular Surgery, news release, June 6, 2011

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