How to live longer: A dog helps improve heart health & manages stress to boost longevity

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When it comes to living a long and healthy life, so much emphasis is put on one’s diet. Another factor which can contribute positively to an increased lifespan includes owning a dog. From improving mental health to helping with cardiovascular health, being a dog owner could help boost your longevity. How?

Scientists found dog owners were likely to live longer than those who didn’t have dogs.

Dog owners had a 24 percent risk reduction for death from any cause, according to a study.

For people with heart problems, living with a dog had an even greater benefit.

The potentially life-extending benefits of dog ownership could be traced in part to increased physical activity from daily walks.

Numerous studies found dog owners were less likely to die from heart disease compared with nonowners.

Professor Keith Ferdinand from Tulane University School of Medicine said: “Dogs help to address multiple factors that contribute to cardiovascular diseases, including mental and physical health.

“Having a family pet may assist a person with managing stress, increasing activity and decreasing isolation and loneliness.

“By walking a dog 20 to 30 minutes a day, owners meet the American Heart Association’s recommended weekly activity of 150 minutes of moderate exercise to improve overall cardiovascular health.”

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Owning a dog and taking it out for daily walks, acts as a social catalyst for a person.

It helps to promote social connections, conversations and can lead to the development of networks of support.

The connectivity of pets helps a person also feel safer and more loved in their own home.

Improves mental health

The role pets play in mental health is where the strongest connection to individual longevity lies.

By improving mental wellbeing, a person’s life is extended as an overall positive feeling of wellbeing always improves one’s health.

Older people especially report pets help to reduce loneliness and social isolation which can play havoc on life expectancy.

Owning a dog and getting outdoors more often becomes common practice.

A wealth of research indicates that escaping to a neighbourhood park can lower a person’s stress levels, decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of asthma, allergies, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while boosting mental health and increasing life expectancy.

In another study published in the journal Scientific Reports, spending at least 120 minutes outdoors each week can have a major positive effect on life expectancy and overall health.

The study examined data from nearly 20,000 people in England from 2014 to 2016, which asked them to record their activities within the past week.

It found that people who spent two hours a week or more outdoors reported being in better health and having a greater sense of well-being than people who didn’t get out at all.

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