Want an excuse to adopt an adorable furry family member?
How about this one: Owning a pet could reduce your risk of heart disease.
‘Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease,’ Glenn N. Levine, professor at Baylor College of Medicine, said in a statement on the American Heart Association‘s website.
After reviewing previous studies on the health benefits of pet ownership, the authors of the statement concluded that people with dogs may be healthier because they are more physically active, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and are better able to deal with stress thanks to their furry companions.
Before you head to your closest shelter to adopt a pet, it’s important to keep in mind that the simple act of owning a pet isn’t what keeps your heart healthy.
‘If someone adopts a pet, but still sits on the couch and smokes and eats whatever they want and doesn’t control their blood pressure,’ Levine told the New York Times, ‘that’s not a prudent strategy to decrease their cardiovascular risk.’
However, if you already own a pet who helps calm you down when you’re stressed and gets you out for regular walks – you’re likely enjoying a lower risk of heart disease.
Do you have a dog or cat? Do you think your pet helps you lead a healthier lifestyle?
-Katharine Watts, associate web editor