What if I told you that I have an idea that would improve heart rate, lower your blood pressure and improve your mental health?
I bet you would listen intently. The experts say, if you own a dog, you will receive the following healthy benefits and more.
There is compelling evidence showing why owning a dog is quite beneficial to your overall wellness, but a recent Mayo Clinic study, reports it is “good for your cardiovascular health” too. For those who enjoy being active, an encouraging Canadian study found dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes per week compared to non-owners, who averaged 168 minutes per week.
Harvard Health points out there are many reasons why dogs are called human's best friend and several of them have to do with our good health. Owning a dog can prompt you into being more physically active. A dog can help you be calmer and more at peace. In addition to the many benefits for older Americans, the CDC reports owning a pet can increase fitness, lower stress levels and bring happiness to their owners. Four of those healthy benefits are:
- Decreased blood pressure-high blood pressure can damage the arteries preventing blood flow to the heart. Over time, uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to health complications including heart attack and stroke.
- Decreased cholesterol levels-high cholesterol can cause significant health problems and lead to cardiovascular disease. WebMD reports, “If you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, it can stick to your artery walls, forming plaque. Overtime, cholesterol buildup causes hardening of the arteries which slows blood flow to the heart muscle. Reduced blood flow can result in a heart attack if the blood vessel gets blocked completely”.
- Decreased feelings of loneliness-we have written about our concerns with senior loneliness on several occasions and it continues to be a problem across America. Research shows that isolation and loneliness can cause mental and physical health challenges risking possible damage to your overall health. A dog can be such a valuable companion for older adults.
- Improved socialization-improved socialization helps prevent older Americans from feeling depressed and anxious. “Socialization can go a long way helping improve your mood and quality of life while preventing memory decline”, according to an American Journal of Public Health.
Obviously, there is compelling evidence that shows owning a dog can significantly improve your health. As soon as we walk in the door, our furry friend beams with enthusiasm and excitement. No matter how difficult our day might have been, this relentless love can only put a smile on your face.
There is no question of the many healthy benefits that owning a dog can provide. It is a tremendous commitment to undertake to care for them, but owning a dog is well worth it and the memories are priceless. Like the old saying goes, 'whatever you put in a project, you will get out of it.' If you are committed to your pet, you will have so much joy and rewards along the way. Those ingredients are definitely worth the modest investment and sacrifice.