Why Dogs Are Good For Our Hearts
Dogs, they smile when we come home, wag their tails and roll over on their backs to have their belly stroked. We love dogs because they make us happy, and they turn our ordinary house into a home. Dogs just plain make us feel good, but did you know that there is a good reason for that? Having a dog can be very good for our health, particularly heart-health. Here are some reasons dogs are good for our hearts:
They Keep Us Active
Our dogs like to give us not so subtle reminders that they need to be walked and experience the outdoors. What dogs may be inadvertently telling us is that we need to walk and experience the outdoors as well. Walking 30 minutes a day is great exercise for our bodies. Walking contributes to weight loss, lowering risk of diabetes, lower cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. One of the best ways of motivating ourselves to walk more is having our best furry friend join us when we take a nice relaxing stroll around the neighborhood.
Published findings from 1990 to 2012 were collected and reviewed for evidence for increased human physical activity. The study found that there is evidence that the sense of obligation to walk a dog provides motivation and results in increased walking.
They Reduce Our Stress
It always feels good to pet our pup, but did you know that the good feeling is not all in our head? The good feeling we get from these tender moments spent with our dog is in our hearts - literally! Petting our dogs lowers blood pressure by secreting a relaxing hormone and relieving stress.
Studies dating back to the early 1980’s have shown that dogs (and other pets) have enormous health benefits to people. In 2001, researchers found that pet-owning patients with high-blood pressure could keep their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than patients without pets. In addition, reducing stress can be as simple as interacting with a dog, which significantly lowers cortisol levels and improves your immune system’s functions.
They Improve Our Mood
We are all probably well aware that our state of mind is connected to our stress levels, which is connected to our blood pressure. The sense of belonging that dog owners have with our dogs tends to put us in better/happier moods. A happier state of mind leads to less stress, which leads to lower blood pressure.
They Keep us Social
Connecting positively with people in our community improves our quality of our life, which keeps us more satisfied. Connecting with other dog owners is a very common icebreaker. Dog owners often love talking about their dogs, whether it is at the dog park, in the neighborhood on a walk, or just with our co-worker at work.
We all know that our heart health is critical to our long-term health, but we may not always take time or make the best decisions to do what is best for our heart. The good news is, whether or not we knew it, our hearts have benefited from having Fido all along. This isn’t to say there are not other things we need to do or not do to keep our heart healthy, but rest assured being a good dog owner is one step in the right direction. So for Dog Days, let’s not hesitate to give our dog a little extra love – we might need them just as much as they need us.