Owning a dog is good for your health, according to a new study.

couple with dog
Credit: gradyreese/Getty Images

If you’re looking for a way to live a long, healthy life, a new study suggests getting a dog.

The study, published by University of Lincoln and Glasgow Caledonian University in the BMC Public Health journal, found that dog owners over the age of 65 get an average of 22 more minutes of walking a day than those without one.

That time amounted to an extra 2,760 steps a day.

To conduct the study, researchers used the activPAL monitor, a waterproof monitor that is worn around the thigh to monitor the subject’s sedentary, standing, and stepping activities throughout the day.

A total of 43 pairs of both dog owners and non-dog owners were matched together for the study and wore the monitor for three one-week data collection periods throughout one year.

Participants provided information on their dogs, including their care requirements, breeds, and ages.

The study included participants aged 65 or older who lived in Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, or Cambridgeshire in the U.K., and who were able to walk unaided for at least 10 minutes continuously.

“Over the course of a week, this additional time spent walking may in itself be sufficient to meet World Health Organization recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity,” Dr. Philippa Dall, senior researcher fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

While previous studies have been conducted on the topic, researchers relied primarily on self-reported data, finding that the use of an activity monitor provided deeper insight and objective data on the matter.