It’s National Pet Month and did you know that owning a pet can improve your 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.
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.
With so much to gain and only a chewed up pair of slippers to lose, here are some of our top tips to get you in the lead when it comes to heart health;
- Train together
Some breeds and sizes even make an ideal cycling or running buddy. If having to stop and start each time your furry friend gets distracted puts you off pace, why not add them into your Fartlek training. Mixing up speeds, timings and distances in short unpredictable bursts can be a lot of fun, great for relieving stress and good for training your heart to recover quickly when put through its paces.
- Take the lead
If you have a canine companion, kick start your day together with a brisk 15 minute walk. It’ll leave you feeling more energised, mentally prepared for the day ahead and help keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. Finish your day in the same way it started- with a heart healthy walk. You’ll soon wind down and forget about the to-do tray, swapping stress hormones for endorphins. Walking more and sitting less, particularly in the evening, will help you reap the benefits of a reduced waistline, better quality sleep and a healthier, happier, stronger heart.
- Be a top cat
Playing with your cat or dog is important for improving natural physical skills and social behaviour. Playful pounces, ball throwing, ribbon swirling and grappling games keeps hearts healthy and happy, whether little or big. Try out some new activities like parkour, HIIT, dynamic yoga or a bit of wrestling to really get your heart racing, go on… take the pounce.
- Have a heart of gold
45% of UK households own a pet, meaning families up and down the country will be benefitting from reduced blood pressure. But you don’t need a pet to reduce your heart disease risk. Volunteer to help at your nearest shelter for abandoned and mistreated animals. You’ll help at least two hearts keep healthier and happier.
Whether you own a feline friend, help exercise a neighbour’s pooch, or you’re fostering a pet who is without a good home, buddy up, pound the streets, take big leaps, have fun and wind down together at the end of the day to your heart’s content.