Do Fit Dogs Live Longer?

It is well established that exercise has health benefits in humans. Regular physical activity can significantly reduce the occurrence of age-associated diseases and help maintain function. Exercise is also a powerful anti-aging tool which can extend both healthspan and lifespan. But what about dogs? Is it time to start a chain of canine fitness centers?

Just as in humans, one of the biggest risk factors for illness and premature death in dogs is obesity. Surveys of dog owners have found that low levels of exercise are associated with an increased risk of obesity, so it is possible that regular physical activity may be protective against becoming overweight. 

A few studies have investigated exercise as an adjunct to caloric restriction for weight loss in dogs. Some have found benefits, but not all, and it is clear that exercise without caloric restriction is unlikely to be an effective treatment for obesity. However, overweight dogs may still benefit from exercise during dieting in other ways, such as preserving lean body mass.

Exercise also improves comfort and function in dogs with osteoarthritis, and it appears to trigger the activation of metabolic pathways associated with glucose regulation. These same pathways are implicated in the effects of caloric restriction on health and longevity, which suggests that exercise could extend healthspan and lifespan in dogs by mechanisms similar to those demonstrated in other species.

More research is needed, but there it is highly likely that increased physical exercise will be beneficial for dogs in maintaining health and slowing aging. There’s also plenty of evidence that exercising with our dogs is good for our health. So take your for a walk right now!

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2 Responses to Do Fit Dogs Live Longer?

  1. Jazzlet says:

    I’ve only just sat down after getting all the grass seeds out of his coat after his last walk!

  2. ashton says:

    It makes sense. It fascinates me sometimes that these types of things were not investigated sooner as it makes sense that exercising would lead to better health and lifespan. You would think it would be common sense. Just like how having a “better” diet than the western diet would lead to less risk comorbidities and other factors of risk.

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