OJPM> Vol.4 No.7, July 2014

Assessing the Intensity of Dog Walking and Impact on Overall Physical Activity: A Pilot Study Using Accelerometry

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Despite a growing body of research indicating that dog walking contributes to meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines, this literature is limited by the use of self-report measures of dog walking and overall PA. The objectives of this pilot study were to objectively assess dog walking with accelerometry, characterize the frequency, duration, and intensity of dog walking, and determine the contribution of dog walking to overall moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Methods: Sixty-five dog owners wore an Actigraph GT3X accelerometer for up to 7 consecutive days and recorded start/end times for dog walks with daily log sheets. Each minute with an activity count ≥ 760 was classified as MVPA. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize all variables. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between dog walking MVPA bouts and meeting PA guidelines, controlling for age, education, income, and gender. Results: Participants walked their dog an average of 1.2 ± 1.1 times/day, averaged 28.0 ± 15.6 minutes/walk, and accumulated 22.9 ± 17.5 minutes of MVPA/day during dog walks, of which 21.7 ± 17.9 minutes were accumulated in bouts ≥10 minutes. Seventy-eight percent of dog walking was classified as moderate-intensity and 3.5% was vigorous. Dog walking MVPA had a statistically significant positive association with meeting PA guidelines (OR = 2.32; 95% CI = 1.06, 5.08). Conclusions: The majority of dog walking minutes were moderate-intensity and most minutes of MVPA during dog walking occurred in bouts. These findings suggest that dog walking is consistent with current PA guidelines for adults and should receive more consideration as a PA promotion strategy.

Cite this paper

Richards, E. , Troped, P. and Lim, E. (2014) Assessing the Intensity of Dog Walking and Impact on Overall Physical Activity: A Pilot Study Using Accelerometry. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4, 523-528. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2014.47062.

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