We all love our pets unconditionally and share a strong bond with them. Of course, pets aren’t just cute fuzzy balls that can make us happier. Recent studies reveal that pet ownership has various other benefits for our health apart from only improving moods. The companionship of these creatures can lead to better fitness, reduce the risk of heart diseases and help lower blood pressure & cholesterol. Here are seven amazing facts that explain how pets are the key to improved health and fitness:
#1. Pets Help Lower Stress and Anxiety
Whenever we find ourselves in stressful situations, our brain triggers the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Very high levels of cortisol are harmful to our body; therefore, it is essential to find an outlet to release stress and suppress the production of cortisol, and our pets help with just that. Research reveals that petting or even looking at your pet causes the body to release the “feel good” hormones such as oxytocin thereby lowering stress levels. So the sudden warmth you feel after you come home to your pet after a tiring day isn’t something you imagine instead it is the benefit of having a pet at your home.
#2. Animals (Particularly Dogs) Encourage You to Stay Active
Physical activity and exercise are imperative for fitness. Many of us make promises of achieving the desired levels of physical exertion but end up procrastinating and missing out our workout. With a pet by your side, you will be motivated to reach your fitness goals. It is a fact verified by research, a study revealed that dog-parents are more likely to complete the desired hours of walking each week as compared to non-dog owners. It is because our canines have a daily requirement of exercise and as a responsible pet-parent, you have to ensure that you fulfill these needs. This acts as a source of motivation that enables you to get up and get moving every day.
#3. They Distract and Help You Unwind
Pets including dogs, cats, and birds can improve our moods. How do they do it? Well, our pets have superpowers that work like magic, these are their adorable antics and unconditional love. Whether you failed a test or messed a deal at work, your dog or cat won’t care. They will love you the same and in fact provide emotional support by staying by your side in the most challenging times. You can rant and vent out without the fear of being judged or having to explain yourself. You feel better and hopeful, ready to face the challenges for another day with the support of your furry companion.
#4. Pets Promote Better Mental Health
There are many ways how pets help boost our mental well-being. As I mentioned earlier, they allow us to unwind and improve our moods. In today’s chaotic lives we are surrounded by plenty of issues that bother us. In such situations, our pets help us distract our minds by grabbing all our attention. They encourage mindfulness and enable us to live in the moment instead of always stressing over issues. Our pets also grant us a sense of purpose in life. We know that we are responsible for providing our canines their favorite canned food or kibbles & clean water, take them out for walks, and ensure optimum health. This feeling of having to care for another being boosts our self-esteem and helps us feel better about ourselves.
#5. They Motivate You to Try Different Activities
We have already established the fact that our canines require exercise but a simple walk around the block may become monotonous for the two of you. To keep the excitement level up for your dog, you have to find out fun ways of exercising and this is how you try out various activities. Pet-parents experiment with hiking, taking their dogs for a morning jog, playing games such as fetch and even try out swimming with their canines. These activities help reinforce the bond between you and your pooch and enable both of you to stay fit. It also provides you an opportunity to meet other dog-parents and socialize.
#6. Having Dogs Can Help Your Heart Become Healthier
Dogs encourage physical exertion which in turn helps keep our cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check. Another major health challenge in the U.S. today is obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle is a significant cause that contributes to it. But with a pet in your life, you are compelled to stay active, and all these factors contribute to a reduced risk of heart diseases and better chances of survival.
#7. The Key to Better Immunity
A common belief is that pets may cause allergies and children exposed to them at early ages are likely to fall sick frequently. As much as this is true for a few pets, as far as our furry companions are concerned, research states otherwise. According to studies children that are exposed to dogs and cats in the first two years are less likely to develop various allergies, eczema and other skin conditions in the future.
About The Author:
Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.