Fight cancer: walk the dog
Alaina Osborne | August 27, 2014
A surprising number of dog owners avoid walking their pets, even though this activity is good for both dog and owner. Walking helps manage weight and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
University of Guelph Applied Human Nutrition professor John Dwyer and master’s degree student Julia Campbell wanted to know what motivates or prevents dog owners from engaging in this relatively simple task. .
They interviewed 26 dog owners in Guelph and at a pet community centre in Toronto. They found major barriers for owners included the weather, their dog’s behaviour, and feeling unsafe in certain areas at night (usually in rural settings or those that are poorly lit).
But they also found the main motives were keeping fit, forming an attachment with their dog and socialization. Participants also said that walking their dog was often a calming experience and that dogs walked regularly tended to be calmer as well and were less likely to have excess energy at home later in the day.
In addition, interviewees said dog walking helped strengthen the bond between owners and their dogs, as well as among other people.
“Past research has shown that people are more likely to strike up a conversation with someone accompanied by a dog,” says Campbell. “So we want to emphasize that dog walking can be a good way to meet new people and socialize with neighbours.”
To help owners overcome the barriers to dog walking and raise awareness of its health benefits, Kahntact Marketing in Guelph provided its services to assist in developing a brochure that the researchers hope to see in veterinary offices and clinics, online and in pet stores.
The brochure lists the benefits of dog walking as well as locations of nearby dog parks and trails and how to incorporate dog walking into a regular routine.
“We want owners to see their dogs as cues for physical activity,” says Dwyer. “This research will help us encourage owners to take the steps to improve their dog’s health, as well as their own.”
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommended amount of moderate exercise for a healthy adult is 150 minutes per week.
“Getting 30 minutes of exercise in a day can consist of taking your dog on two 15-minute walks, in the morning and evening,” says Dwyer.
Adjusting goals is not ...
Deborah Durbin | January 12, 2015On January 1st many people set bold exercise goals for themselves as part of their New Year resolutions. Come Valentine’s Day, though, most of those goals have fallen by the wayside, tossed aside along with empty heart-shaped candy boxes. read more »
Let shopping be your ...
Noreen Fagan | December 18, 2014Here’s a fun fact – Canadians eat more sushi than the Japanese. At least that’s what Mark Cleveland says, and he should know. Cleveland is a professor of marketing at Western University. His research focuses on the integration of cultures on a global scale and the effects of cosmopolitanism, which according to Cleveland is, “the cultural openness and the ability to successfully navigate between different cultural groups.” In other words, people who want to understand and experience other cultures do so by fully immersing themselves in that culture. “You want to live the life of cultural authenticity, by trying to understand the culture through that culture’s eyes,” he says. Cleveland’s interest in cultural openness started when he was a Master’s and then a Ph.D. student at Concordia University in Montreal. He started researching how new immigrants, primarily ethic minorities, adapted to Canadian culture by finding ways to combine their traditional identities, culture and values into mainstream society. “I have always believed that just because you learn another culture does not mean you give up the original culture. You can be bicultural or multicultural and the two can reinforce each other,” says Cleveland. “Not only are minorities affected by cultural exchange but the majority are as well.” Canada’s multiculturalism prompted Cleveland to extend his research into globalization, with a focus on how global cultures affect majority populations around the world. In the last decade Cleveland has conducted research in 15 to 20 countries exploring cultural exchange and cosmopolitanism. He says a person no longer has to travel abroad – although it helps – to become cosmopolitan. A person can experience different cultures in the comfort of their own home or neighbourhood, simply by watching TV, surfing the Internet, playing videos on You Tube or buying and consuming different products. “When we buy products, and types of brands and the reasons for buying them, they are like extensions of ourselves,” he says. So how do the sushi–eating Canadians fit into all of this? Cleveland believes if a person wants to experience cultural authenticity they will gear their shopping towards achieving that aim. In other words, a person is not going to go for the North American version of sushi (think Californian Roll), when they can get the real thing – think Unagi. He says there is probably a general global trend towards cultural openness as people become more educated and have more exposure to other cultures but he warns, there is another side. “A lot of people are really opposed to what is happening with Globalization and they see their culture as under threat,” says Cleveland adding that the threat is heightened when people feel insecure. If people are feeling secure in their surroundings (financially, emotionally and physically), the more open they are to cultural exchange and the more cosmopolitan they become. Being cosmopolitan however, does not mean buying local is a thing of the past; in fact what makes cosmopolitans stand out is that they strive for cultural authenticity. “The more cosmopolitan you are means you are not only interested in preserving differences but also interested in the environment, like getting the best locally,” says Cleveland. In terms of cosmopolitanism Cleveland thinks Canadians are more accepting of other cultures. “We are a new country, most of us go back two or three generations and have one or two grandparents born somewhere else. We have a more fluid identity,” he says, adding that as large cities go, Toronto is well integrated. “We are not just living in these areas dominated by our own ethic group, there are more opportunities to mix, and I think that allows us to become more open-minded.”