Owning a dog can make you healthier

The American Heart Association reviewed studies from around the world and found that owning a dog can make you healthier.

And those who already have cardiac problems may be more likely to survive if they have the companionship of a pet.

While a dog's psychological value to its owner is very much attested, helping cure loneliness and such this is the largest study of all the physical benefits associated with dog ownership.

The study states that, obviously enough, people who own and walk a dog reach a higher walking amount as opposed to another that doesn't own a dog, but what researchers found interesting enough is that dog walkers are physically more active, generally walking about an hour longer per week than people who owned dogs but did not walk them. People who do walk their dog walk a dog are 34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks for physical activity.

Research also credits pets with relieving stress and having a beneficial effect on obesity and cholesterol levels.

Dr Levine, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, said the benefits may come from a range of physical factors, including exercise and stress relief.

Dr Levine said "A person may take better care of themselves if they have a good bond with a pet and feel better about themselves and are more motivated to live longer."
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