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6 Health Benefits of Having Pets

6. Dogs Help with Weight Loss
According to a story published in The New York Times, research from the University of Missouri  found that people who walk dogs are more consistent about regular exercise and show more improvement in fitness than people who walk with a human companion. In the 12-week study of 54 older adults, 35 people were assigned to a walking program for five days a week, while the remaining 19 served as a control group. Among the walkers, 23 selected a friend or spouse to serve as a regular walking partner, another 12 participants took a bus daily to a local animal shelter where they were assigned a dog to walk.

The researchers were surprised to find that the dog-walkers showed an impressive improvement in fitness, while the human walkers leaned towards making excuses to avoid the workout. Walking speed among the dog walkers increased by a whopping 28 percent, compared with just a 4 percent increase among the human walkers.

A University of Missouri-Columbia study showed that people who did not walk regularly could lose an average of 14 pounds in one year by walking a dog 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week!

Read more: Allergies, Caregiving, Cats, Dogs, General Health, Health, Mental Wellness, Pets, Stress, ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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11:45AM PDT on Jun 23, 2014

I know that some of the residents at the nursing home where I volunteer really enjoy visiting animals. There is even a "country day" where small farm animals are brought in, particularly into the courtyard... I even arranged miniature horses one year... they were a bit hit.

12:35PM PST on Mar 2, 2014

My cats have changed my life for the better in every way. Nothing can replace the unconditional love I get from them, When I get home from work they are waiting for me at the door and when I open the door they are both there with little bodies arched, tails straight up and quivering with excitement. I usually throw my bags down and drop to the floor and they fly into my arms....It's priceless.

5:25AM PST on Feb 5, 2014

6?? I know at least 6,000 health benefits of having pets, they change your life for the better in every way...thank you for this article.

5:05AM PST on Jan 19, 2014

Don't forget Laughter.
when i play with my cats they always get me laughing and it is supposed to be the best medicine.

1:16AM PST on Dec 5, 2013

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2:02AM PST on Nov 19, 2013

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1:16AM PST on Nov 4, 2013

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9:47AM PDT on Oct 28, 2013

New technology being developed to use dogs as warning signs of physical problems with owners. Check it out.

http://www.nutralegacy.com/blog/general-healthcare/mans-bff/

12:24AM PDT on Aug 31, 2013

I was guessing if You Could write a little more on this subject? I'd be very grateful if You Could elaborate a little bit more.
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12:19AM PDT on Jun 19, 2013

Nothing better than that unconditional love, and my "girl" makes me "Move it Move"

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