Dog owners often say the best thing about dogs is their unconditional love.
But new research suggests there's another benefit, too. Dog owners walk more.
In a study published Monday in the journal BMC Public Health, dog owners on average walked 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn't own a dog.
And they weren't just dawdling.
"Not only did we see an increase in exercise, but also the exercise was at a moderate pace," explains study author Daniel Mills of the University of Lincoln, in the United Kingdom.
The study found that the dog owners walked briskly and got their heart rates up. At times, their pace was about 3 miles per hour, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers moderate intensity.