The Positive Effect of Pets on Your Wellness
June has brought us a focus on community for our blog posts and this week we look at another important member of our community… our pets!
It’s no secret that our pets are emotional and physical keys to a healthier and well-balanced life – from a slobbery greeting punctuated with jumps of joy to say “I’m so happy you are home”, pets are the perfect antidote to stress. Their capacity for unconditional love is incredibly healing.
Numerous studies have shown the positive effects that animals can have on our lives. Yes, improved physical fitness is one benefit! Whether it’s a walk or run with your dog or the chase after a cat who likes to escape every time you open the door, moving with a pet increases physical activity. One study noted that dog owners average 22 minutes more walking a day compared to people who don’t own a dog. This routine not only has positive physical benefits for both the pet and owner, but also heightens an increased connection with your community, being out meeting new friends, enjoy nature increasing your sense of belonging.
Having a pet is believed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. One study suggests that cat owners are 30% less likely to have a heart attack and nearly 40% less likely to have a stroke. Studies are also showing that Pet-Therapy is a real thing and can help people recovering from surgery lower their use of pain medications. Another study on college students found that just 10 minutes of interacting with cats and dogs produced a significant reduction in levels of cortisol, a major stress hormone.
On the emotional or wellness side, the joy of unconditional love has been shown to help reduce anxiety, depression, blood pressure and heart rate. Feeding and caring for a pet helps people find a reason to keep going when feeling down.
On the physical side, there are benefits to the movements themselves. For example, a daily walk, bending, reaching and crouching or kneeling helps to build a range of motion in the body that is necessary for correct alignment and functional, everyday mobility.
So get out there this weekend, enjoy some activity, spend some time with your favourite pet and connect with your community.
Source: Portia Page – Can animals help clients thrive? IDEA