Healthy Tip: Give your heart a pet

Main content
Give your heart a pet

There are many good reasons why owning a pet improves health and well-being.  According to one study owning a pet could save the NHS nearly two and a half billion pounds each year by helping to combat a variety of chronic conditions and diseases, including coronary heart disease.  

Of all types of pet ownership dog owners may be top of the league when it comes to heart-health.   A large scale study in Sweden has linked the social support and motivational effects of having a canine companion to a 33% reduction in risk of death and 11% reduction in heart attacks.

If you own a pooch you’re likely to be benefitting from lower blood pressure, higher levels of physical activity, lower stress levels and ultimately a longer life, making your four legged friend your heart’s best friend.
So with so much to gain and only a chewed up pair of slippers  to lose, here are some of our top dog-walking tips to keep you streets ahead in the ‘walkies’ league of cardiovascular health;

- Taking you dog on a brisk walk, will get you well on your way towards your recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity, keeping a healthy lid on blood pressure and cholesterol levels in turn helping you to unwind, release endorphins and help you keep a positive mind and a more energised body.

- Up the pace and distance of dog walks to really reap the benefits in a reduced waistline and stronger heart.  Keeping up with your dog’s running pace and playing games like Frisbee and tug of war will keep that tail wagging and keep your heart working towards a healthier you.

- Dogs love their daily walks and make an ideal cycling or running buddy.  Unlike a friend or colleague, man’s best friend won’t moan about the weather and cancel on you or slacken off the pace, so let them take the lead.

- Sadly less than one in four of UK households are benefitting from owning a pooch, a decline over the past decade.  If you don’t own a dog, why not offer to volunteer at your nearest shelter for abandoned and mistreated dogs.  Connecting with people and giving to help others will keep you pounding towards mental wellbeing as well as keep you motivated.

Whether it’s your own, a friend or neighbour’s, or a new found foster buddy, if you have a four legged friend at your heels, make sure you pound the streets with your pooch come rain or shine, grabbing the lead to a Healthy heart.