About one in three Iowans suffer from some form of arthritis — that’s 800-thousand Iowans — and potential relief is going to the dogs. Doyle Monsma, president of the Iowa Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, says arthritis sufferers who walk their dogs daily can help bring relief, while making you — and the dog — more physically active.

Monsma says “Walking your dog for a half an hour or even ten minutes three times a day will help to significantly reduce pain and stiffness. In addition, the walk is good for your dog too because dogs also suffer from arthritis, so you’re really doing two good things at once.”

Many people with arthritis are tempted to limit physical activity, fearing that will only worsen their pain and stiffness. While physical activity might increase pain and stiffness initially, Monsma says taking a hike with your hound could eventually make you both feel better. He says regular dog walkers may find the stiffness and joint pain actually subsides, helping decrease the deterioration of bones and cartilage while improving your ability to perform daily activities.

To encourage more people with arthritis to get moving, the Iowa chapter of the Arthritis Foundation sponsors several walks throughout the year where dog owners are encouraged to bring along their pets.