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OUR FURRY FRIENDS HELP OUR HEARTS IN MANY WAYS
We all know how great our pet dogs and cats make us feel. They become full-fledged members of our families. But a number of studies suggest that our furry friends help our hearts in many ways.
Bringing a companion into your routine can boost your activity level - google image
It’s no secret that an active lifestyle is a powerful part of disease prevention. Bringing a companion into your routine can boost your activity level almost immediately, and dog owners generally walk much more than others.
Studies have found that petting and cuddling your pet can relax you on a hormonal level. Not only does your body begin to release oxytocin, but your level of cortisol (the stress hormone) may start to dip. Simply watching fish swim in an aquarium can be enough to calm your mind and body.
Research on how much stress directly impacts heart disease is ongoing, but one fact is clear: the adrenaline-fueled, hormone-inducing stress response can lead you to cope in unhealthy ways (like with smoking, heavy drinking, or overeating) that can certainly impact your heart.
Less likely to have heart attacks and strokes
The entire dog owner population has lower risk for cardiovascular-related deaths - google image
A 2017 study in Scientific Reports found that the social support and movement motivation dogs offer can reduce risk for cardiovascular disease among those who live alone. The entire dog owner population has lower risk for cardiovascular-related deaths and all-cause mortality compared to those who live in dog-free dwellings.
Not only will they bring a smile to your face, pets can bring a whole new sense of meaning to your life.
Pet owners are generally happier and more trusting than others, and that contentment and confidence can make its way into other parts of your routine. Since there’s a clear relationship between depression and heart disease, maintaining a positive outlook and a happy demeanor with the help of a pet can have a short- and long-term impact on your heart.
Those who see, talk to, touch or even simply hear their pets nearby experience more joy, feel nurtured and notice a sense of goodwill, all of which may suppress stress hormones, lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure, per a 2013 study published in the journal Circulation.
You’ll find that walking your dog draws friendly conversation and interaction- google image
Loneliness can have a measurable impact on your mental, emotional, and even your physical wellbeing. A recent study found that loneliness was linked to a lower quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease.
The companionship of an animal can bring immediate and ongoing relief from that lonely feeling, especially when you live alone. But your pet can also be a wonderful bridge to social interaction. You’ll find that walking your dog draws friendly conversation and interaction that helps connect you to your community.
Source: clevelandheartlab, alivecor, eatingwell