A new study from Uppsala University, Sweden, found that having a dog significantly reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes and more.
The medical and pet ownership records of over 3.4 million people in Sweden were analysed to determine the health benefits of having a dog. The participants – only 13% of which had a pet dog – were followed for up to 12 years. All were aged between 40-80 years old.
The biggest positive effect was found in people who lived alone. Having a dog could decrease their risk of death from heart disease by 36%. “We see effects in the single households that are much stronger than in multiple-person households,” says Professor of Epidemiology Tove Fall. “If you have a dog you neutralise the effects of living alone,” The Guardian reports. Nevertheless, even those who lived in the same household as other people had a lowered risk of 15%.
Get outside with your dog this weekend to reap the health benefits and enjoy the summer weather. Here are 5 activities to try.
Beach: find a dog-friendly beach near you and take your canine friend for a stroll and a swim. Beaches are great places for dogs to meet other dogs and play, as well as stretch out and really run around. Plus, the fresh air and water will clear you mind and create clarity.
Paddleboarding: if you’ve managed to master the art of stand-up paddleboarding, now is the time to try it with your dog. Go to a flat beach or lake, get your pooch to sit at the front of the board and paddle away. Chances are, you’ll both love it.
Bush: there are plenty of bush walks that allow dogs, and this is a fantastic way to get some exercise, see some stunning scenery and train your dog.
Doga (dog yoga): yes, dog yoga is a real thing. And it not only provides you with the same physical and mental benefits that practicing standard yoga does, it has the added benefit of creating a bonding experience. Have a look on Youtube for simple Doga flows you can practice with your dog.
Bike: a great way to get your daily cardio session while enjoying your dog’s company is to go for a bike ride. Look for a quiet country street where you can safely bike with your dog alongside you and really stretch those legs.