n the past year, my parents’ lives have taken a remarkable turn for the better. Both 80, they have found themselves embracing newfound physical and mental vitality, walking several miles daily, meeting new people, and being able to squat without breaking a sweat. This transformation isn’t the result of any magical elixir or novel medication; it’s the incredible influence of Maisy, a puppy who joined the family just over a year ago.
While the connection between dog ownership and well-being isn’t new, recent evidence illuminates the different ways our four-legged friends can be an ally in helping us age gracefully and stay healthy as we grow older. Here are six of their most powerful longevity benefits.
Owning a dog can lead to a healthier heart: Many studies have explored the impact of dog ownership on cardiovascular health. In recognition of these studies, the American Heart Association (AHA) even issued a scientific statement back in 2013 linking dog ownership to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. More recently, a meta-analysis published in the scientific journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that owning a dog is associated with a 17 percent lower risk of death, especially deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, which were found to be 20 percent less likely.
Excerpted from Well + Good