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Can Owning a Pet Help You Stay Fit and Healthy

Helen Bush

Are you a pet owner, or do you plan on getting a pet in the near future? It can actually be beneficial for your health if you do. Many studies have found that having a pet can improve your physical and emotional health. Your pet not only can encourage you to get up and move more but can also help you by relieving stress. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2011, found that pet owners were more likely to be happier, in better shape, have greater self-esteem and are more outgoing than people who did not own a pet. This study is proof that having a pet can be beneficial for your health.


An increase in physical activity

Pets can increase how much physical activity you get. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health in 2011, found that people who own a dog are more physically active overall, than those who do not own a dog. It is most likely due to the time their owners spend playing with them, walking with them or running with them. Another study published in 2008 by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that when participants, who were not that active, got a dog they actually increased their walking time by 30 minutes per week. This study shows that having a dog is a great way to encourage you to walk and get more physically active.


Should you get a dog or a cat

Walking is a the perfect way for many to remain active. It is low-impact for people with health problems or the elderly. It is an easily accessible exercise for everyone, and it can help you keep your dog happy. If you own an indoor only animal, like a cat, you may not achieve the same increase in the amount of physical activity as you would with a dog. However, you can still receive the same emotional benefits and maybe even manage to add in a little extra physical activity if you try. The choice is up to you, but you should choose the pet that best fits your needs and lifestyle.


    It is true that our pets are our best friends. Spending your free time with your pet can be emotionally beneficial by helping you relieve any built-up stress and physically beneficial by adding in some extra movement and exercise to your day, even if you need to play inside with your animal. You and your outdoor pet can visit parks, hiking trails or even the lake. If you have an inside pet, you could always check your local pet store for inside toys that can get you and your pet up and moving. It is also a good rule of thumb to ask your veterinarian to see how much or what type of exercise is best for your pet. You do not only want to concern yourself with your health but also theirs.