In an age of hustle, bustle, and social media noise, it becomes challenging to keep our mental and physical health in check.
Although awareness for “self-care” is a consistent topic, the constant rush around us may distract us from focusing on ourselves.
Working on your physical and mental health comes in different forms, but some can easily be incorporated into our lifestyle. If you’re a pet owner or a dog lover, this article is for you.
Let this be supplemental to the best dog training books you own, to further encourage bonding with your canine buddy.
How Playing With Dogs Improves Physical And Mental Health
The phrase “a dog is man’s best friend” may be so overused that it’s ingrained into our minds, but there is an undeniable truth to it.
Some people have such a strong attachment to their pets that the better term to suit our canine buds would be “family.” The mutual love shared between dogs, and their owners are proven and recorded in movies and books. It’s a grand love affair that has been in existence for a long time. But this relationship brings more benefits than we realize.
Here are five ways playing with dogs improves your health…
Playing With Dogs Gives You More Reasons To Exercise
To keep your dogs in shape, taking them out for walks is a must. And if you live in a complex, you may need to take them out more often for some fresh air.
Some of the best dog training books include exercise ideas you can enjoy with your pets, even if you’re the type to hold off outdoor activities.
When it’s for the sake of our dogs, we often disregard personal comfort and, as a result, benefit from some exercise in the process.
Here are some outdoor exercise activities you can do with your dogs that will undeniably push you to exercise eventually:
- Hiking – Dogs love to go on hikes. Experiencing the great outdoors, which is an instinct, will make them happy.
- Swimming – Some dog breeds are keen on swimming while some shouldn’t be in the water much. Note your dog’s breed and its natural strengths when choosing an outdoor activity.
- Fetch – This simple activity exercises them and deepens your bond in the process. Some tennis enthusiasts also practice on their serve by incorporating it in a game of fetch with their dogs.
- Frisbee – This highly active is an excellent cardio workout for you and your dog. You can also involve the entire family when playing frisbee with your dogs.
- Obstacle course – If you’re keen on keeping your dog agile, a simple obstacle course is a great workout. The process involved in building a course and going through it is a fantastic mental and physical workout. You will also find amazing obstacle course ideas in the best dog training books.
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Playing With Your Dogs Increases Your Serotonin And Dopamine Levels
Dopamine plays a crucial role in your brain’s pleasure system while regulating mood. Serotonin helps regulate mood and temperature and is also known as the happiness hormone. These feel-good hormones keep you calm and relaxed.
Here are some things to note:
- An estimated 30% of pet owners over 65 make fewer visits to the doctor.
- Pet owners are less prone to depression compared to people without pets.
- Criminals are shown to display changes in behavior when interacting with pets.
- Stroking and cuddling a pet is a quick way to de-stress.
- The companionship that dogs provide boosts moods and eases any feelings of depression.
Playing With Dogs Decreases Cholesterol Levels
Several studies have been made regarding the correlation between dog ownership and a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is known as the “pet effect,” and it states blood pressure goes down for dog owners.
Here are some interesting things to note:
- Playing with your dog means more exercise, which naturally contributes to heart health.
- Interestingly enough, lower cholesterol among dog owners had nothing to do with factors like diet, vices, or BMI.
- A dog’s calming effect helps significantly with stress management.
- Petting a dog contributes to lower blood pressure, referred to as the “pet effect.”
NOTE: There is no exact cause and effect relationship with dog ownership and decreased cardiovascular disease, and getting a dog for heart health alone is not recommended.
Playing With Dogs Helps You Socialize
Socializing is an excellent way to stay mentally healthy. When you’re playing with your dogs, especially outdoors, they open opportunities for socialization among people who share a shared love for dogs. This is an especially excellent mood booster that helps you cope with fatigue and stress.
Here are some of the health benefits of socialization:
- It improves your quality of life by giving you companionship and keeping you connected.
- It improves brain health, especially among seniors who need a lot of cognitive exercises.
- It gives you a sense of purpose. Socialization gives you something to look forward to instead of choosing isolation.
- It helps improve memory. Isolation and a feeling of loneliness can cause cognitive decline, which is prevented by a healthy social life.
Playing With Dogs Helps You Sleep Better
Because of the natural physical activity and de-stressing, you go through, playing with dogs promotes quality sleep. Sleep is such a crucial part of your health, although it is often the one most neglected.
Here are some of its known benefits:
- Having enough sleep can help manage weight gain. This doesn’t mean you lose weight while sleeping, but it means your body produces natural hormones that help with metabolism. A person who has an excellent quality of sleep avoids stress eating.
- Having enough sleep boosts mood. People who lack sleep are often irritable and less productive, making them more stressed. When we sleep, we allow ourselves to recuperate for another day.
- Having enough sleep allows your body to recover. It is during sleep that our cells repair our cells, muscles, and organs. During this time, our immune system gets a much-needed boost through chemicals circulating in our bodies.
NOTE: Sleep is so crucial that being well-rested is equated to being healthy.
A responsible dog owner is a healthy individual. Loving a dog translates to loving yourself. And being dubbed as man’s best friend is more than just the loyalty they are known for—it’s the hope of a mutually improved lifestyle.