I’ve come to the conclusion that the goal of life is pretty simple to define: we all want to live well. The hard part is figuring out how. And it can be difficult because there isn't just one way, but many, (I.E. exercise, diet, hard work, making money, serving others, marriage, children, etc) and honing in on the one that makes the most sense for you often takes a lot of time and trial and error.
But one thing you can do, which has been scientifically proven to lead to an all-around healthier life, is owning dog! It’s true. Data gathered over the past few decades has shown significant life improvements and benefits of being a dog owner. How so? We’re so glad you asked…
Sorry non dog owners, but the simple fact is dog owners tend to move more on average than non dog owners. But it makes sense right?! Dogs need activity to live well themselves, so most dog owners don’t have a choice but to be more active. According to research published on medicalnewstoday.com, “Researchers from Michigan State University found that individuals who had a dog and walked it had a 34% higher chance of attaining federal physical activity targets.” (Note that half the US population does not meet the federally recommended activity level target).
It even goes a step further. Dog owners often end up doing more because of the motivation gained by their furry friends. “People who walked their dog also had higher overall levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activities. There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity, even after accounting for the actual dog walking." Ahem, Team SportLeash in the house!
And of course, the increased physical activity that results from dog ownership is only going to aid in cardiovascular health – so much so that even the American Heart Association, the world’s largest cardiovascular health group, came out with a statement last year articulating that very message.
Speaking of the heart, the emotional effects of dog ownership have also proven over the years to be overwhelmingly positive.
According to helpguide.org, “most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch.” And there are many people in the world who find the blessing of emotional connection for the first time with their dogs. Think about how powerful that is – your dog is always there for you, ready to be pet, to give you a kiss!, go anywhere, do anything – just to spend time with you. Emotionally, it's extremely beneficial.
Other benefits researchers have found:
So if you have a dog, good job! While it can be hard work (and often a lot of money spent on food, accessories and vet bills), it’s clearly well worth it in the end.
And if you don’t have a dog, consider adopting one today! It will only give you a greater chance at a life lived well.
We'd love to hear/see how your life is better with your dog! Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @SportLeash
Now go on and have a happy, healthy, dog-filled rest of the week!
Thank you, Sources!: Webmd.com, NYTimes.com, medicalnewstoday.com, helpguide.org, clean-organized-family-home.com