As if all that love, devotion and companionship isn’t enough, Scottish scientists finds dogs can offer their owners another advantage – they can slow down the aging process. “If you have a dog in the home, your physical activity level is roughly equivalent to a person 10 years younger,” says researcher Dr. Zhiqiang Feng, of St Andrews University. Interestingly, this tonic effect is not dependent on the distance an owner walks their pet.
Benefits Encompass Mental, Physical and Social Wellness
Feng doesn’t claim a dog will add 10 years to your life, but he says ownership of these pets is beneficial because they help you get out and about. Remaining active in old age is critical for promoting mental well-being along with delaying the development of many physical maladies like heart disease and bone disorders. In addition, dog walking facilitates social development, as it makes it easier to meet people in the neighborhood.
In the study published in Preventive Medicine, the researchers evaluated 547 residents of Tayside, Scotland who were of an average age of 79. Over a week’s duration, the participants were required to wear an accelerator to measure their movements. The dog owners showed significantly reduced levels of depression and anxiety as well as displayed 12 percent more activity, compared to those who did not own a dog. The results also indicate dog ownership helps people overcome potential barriers to physical activity such as concerns over personal safety and inclement weather.
Share a Dog
Some people might welcome regular canine company, but they don’t have the space to keep a dog or are unable to afford its expense. For various reasons, they also may not be eager to have the sole responsibility for a pet. In such cases, Feng suggests dog-sharing schemes could be a solution that would enable them to enjoy the positive health effects. These arrangements permit dog lovers to walk and care for a dog that belongs to a person who travels or is very busy. In effect, it’s like borrowing a pet. Sharing schemes are a win-win situation: dog owners can get some help in caring for their pets and the elderly can benefit from taking on these duties.
If you don’t live in a community that has a dog-sharing program, you may have a friend who feels guilty for leaving his dog home alone all day while at work. Offer to take care of the pet. The endeavor could keep Rover’s tail wagging and give you a new lease on life.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.