Ha! A new study shows that dog owners not only live longer but look younger and are overall happier. So I say we skip the gym and head to the shelter.

The study comes from St Andrews University and shows if you have a dog in the home, your physical activity level is roughly equivalent to a person 10 years younger than your physical age.  This effect also happens regardless of the how far a dog owner walks with their pet.

The head researcher Dr Zhiqiang Feng, was quoted as saying 'It may not add a decade to your life, but it is very beneficial – it is all about getting up and out and about.’

Many studies have shown that remaining active and having purpose in senior years is proven to stave off a host of ailments, particularly muscle and bone conditions, as well as promoting mental well being.

And I thought this was a nice, the idea is to allow older folks to partake of the benefits of a dog without all the responsibility, Dr. Feng suggested that setting up a dog-sharing.

His study was published in the journal Preventive Medicine, and followed 547 elderly people whose average age was 79. All lived within 60 miles of each other. They found on average, older dog owners were 12 per cent more active than their counterparts who did not own a dog.’