Having Dogs can make you healthy
I was talking to a friend of mine, and she informed me that she’s going through some personal challenges. She’d gained a lot of weight over the past 5 months; and, she feels that she’s in an unhealthy lifestyle.
Well, there’s a lot to unwrap there. But, here is one thing that I shared with her that I’ll share here!
If you have a doggo… you’re already halfway there! I shared with my friend some interesting facts about health and wellness benefits that our pets can bring to our lives.
Data shows, very conclusively, that dogs can help our mental, cardiovascular, & physical health.
One of the main benefits of having a dog is that the animal requires movement from us! From moving about the house to playing a game of fetch, to taking the dog on its daily walks–all of these activities increase our movement. And, in turn, has direct benefits to our heart health.
Studies have long shown that after a person gets a dog, their blood pressure and cholesterol improve!
Did you know that just moving around for 20-30 minutes a day can have huge improvements to our cardiovascular and mental health? The American Heart Association recommends that we get around 150 mins of moderate exercise per week. Just walking the dog for 25 minutes per day, at a brisk pace, provides us with the heart benefits we seek.
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In fact, the news just gets better. You don’t even have to do the brisk walk in one go. You can stagger the walks and do the total 25 minutes in 2-3 walks throughout the day. That means, just 2-3, 10 minutes walks a day!
Another benefit to derive from our lovely pets:
We already understand that portion size is important when we feed our pets. We know that overfeeding poses serious health and financial risks for our pets. So, I recommend that we use that understanding in managing our own food portion sizes.
In fact, I’ve heard from more than one of my patients that they eat snacks only when it’s their pet’s time for a snack or meal. This keeps the feeding on track and ensures that the person is not overindulging in snacks throughout the day!
Another proven way as to why pets are beneficial for us comes from the world of mental health and wellness. More than one study has shown, again, conclusively, that having a pet around improves our empathy and reduces our blood pressure.
Taking care of the animal, providing shelter and care to another living being–all of these activities improve our mood and improve our outlook on life. Also, science has proven that having a pet around increases the amount of a very crucial hormone in our brain: oxytocin.
And, in a way to wrap this up, I told my friend about yet another benefit of having pets: they reduce the amount of cortisol in our bloodstream!
So, yes, having a pet around the house does increase some of our responsibilities–including some extra finances. But, overall, the data is showing that the benefits of having a pet around, far outweigh any costs they may pose.