Lower Your Heart Disease Risk Simply by Owning a Pet

For older people, those who live alone or even happy families, pets can be wonderful enrichers of wellness, providing love, companionship, exercise and entertainment for many years. Now, a new study has shown that owning one type of pet in particular could actually help to add years to your life.

According to the new study carried out by the American Heart Association, owning a dog could actually help to save your life. The research seems to indicate that owning a pet, and a dog in particular, could help to reduce your risk of falling victim to cardiovascular disease. The conclusion of the study was that owning a pet was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

This may, in part, be due to a reduction in stress levels that stroking and caring for a pet is likely to induce, but it is more likely that the regular exercise associated with owning a dog is having a beneficial effect. Dogs require at least two daily walks, often at a good pace, and this walk can help you to lose weight, improve your blood pressure and the functional capacity of your heart.

Walking for two miles every day for five to seven days every week can help to reduce your risk of suffering from a heart attack by as much as 30 percent. In addition to this, the more exercise you get, the happier you are likely to feel, and spending time with your pet (and often socialising with others who have pets, such as when on a walk in the park) can increase your happiness levels too, and this can reduce your blood pressure, leading to a healthier heart.

Some hospitals even have pet therapy, to help improve the wellbeing of their patients.

Dogs are thought to be particularly important as they like routine and they ask for attention. However well-intentioned you are, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to go for a daily walk, but if you have a dog you will have no choice, as the dog will ask to go out and pester you until you do!

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