World Health Day is a global campaign celebrating the anniversary of the April 7, 1948 founding of WHO (World Health Organization). Every year a theme is selected to raise awareness and to prompt a positive change on a new or emerging health issue.
This year, 2012, the theme is aging and health with the official slogan “Good health adds life to years.” WHO is encouraging us to think about how maintaining good health throughout our lives can help us to lead full and productive lives as we get older. Aging is inevitable. It doesn’t matter who you are, how rich or famous you are, or where you live. But you can be happy and healthy well into old age.
There are many health benefits to owning a pet (well, at least a well mannered pet!)
World Health Day is a good reminder of the top 5 health benefits of dogs
1. Dogs help to fight depression – Aside from just being plain fun, playing with a dog can actually elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine. These nerve transmitters are known to have pleasurable and calming properties. Serotonin may contribute to mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. Dopamine is what gives us the experience of new love, joy, self confidence and motivation. Petting and playing with your dog can literally make you feel good.
2. Babe Magnets – Looking for a new man or woman in your life? It is true that dogs are conversation starters. All studies agree that we are happier and live longer when we have friends and partners. Dogs can help shy people to break out of their shells and be more social. They may even help you to find that life partner you’ve been searching for. A 2006 study from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that never married people were 58 percent more likely to die earlier than married people. Just be sure that your partner “Must Love Dogs”!
3. Dogs can help you to De-Stress – You don’t have to look far to see how owning a dog helps even type “A” personalities to keep calmer. Stockbrokers with dogs have lower blood pressure than their non pet owning coworkers. Alzheimer patients have fewer anxious outbursts when there is a dog living in the household. And caregivers report that they feel that their responsibilities are easier when there is a dog around to help. For all of us the studies show that just stroking your pet can reduce your blood pressure. And these effects continue throughout the day, even when people are away from their dogs.
4. Dogs help you to get and stay fit- Owning a dog will force you to get up off of the couch and get outside. Walking, running or even playing ball with your dog will help you to stay fit. I know that my right arm is extremely strong from throwing a Frisbee every day!
5. Dog owners have a higher survival rate after serious illness - We all like to feel needed. Being responsible for a dog who adores you not only makes you feel good, it may even help you to heal faster after an illness. Studies have shown that heart attack patients who own dogs are twice as likely to be alive one year after their heart attack than their non dog owning peers. Some experts even believe that dogs affect survival rates to a greater extent than friends or family members. Patients may feel the need to become healthy again because they have a responsibility to care for their pets.
Enjoy your dog World Health Day and every day of the year to reap the health benefits of dogs. If you don’t already own a dog you might consider adding a dog to your life. Owning a well-manner dog certainly can add life to your years.
Do you feel that your dog has added to your health and vitality? Please comment and share below!
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