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Pets Improve Your Well-being

By: Inter Valley Health Plan

When the kids are grown and you’re all alone, day-to-day life can become boring and lonely. For many empty-nesters, the solution is a furry companion. A pet can make every day more enjoyable, whether you enjoy playing fetch with a dog or holding a purring cat.
If you're housebound, a pet's companionship could play a role in preventing the depression that often goes hand-in-hand with loneliness. Pets can also be a boon for those who need to get out more. If you have trouble getting motivated to exercise, knowing that your dog needs to be walked every day forces you to get out of the house, enjoy the fresh air and stay fit.

Experts have identified numerous health benefits associated with pet ownership.

Exercise: Dog owners can enjoy the benefits of routine exercise; regular walking can aid in weight loss, heart health and diabetes management.

Stress Relief/Blood Pressure: A study of stockbrokers found that those who adopted a dog or cat had lower blood pressure readings during times of stress than those without pets.

Mood: Pets can reduce feelings of loneliness, and may reduce the risk of depression.

Heart Health: Some studies have suggested that heart attack patients with pets survive longer than their counterparts without pets. Also, pet ownership can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Research shows that Alzheimer's patients have less anxious outbursts if there is a pet in the home.

If the benefits of pet owner­ship sound appealing, consider adopting a cat or dog that needs a loving home. If a cat or dog is not an option, don't forget about birds, hamsters, rabbits, turtles and many other critters that might like to share your home!

If adopting a pet is not an option for you, you may want to consider volunteering at your local shelter or rescue group!

To locate the animal shelter nearest you visit http://www.adoptapet.com/animal-shelters.

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