As move from being middle-aged to becoming a senior citizen, your health needs can change quite a bit. Indeed, while the occasional visit to the doctor’s office to ensure that everything is in working order was previously all you needed to attend to vis-à-vis your health, that is certainly not the case when it comes to your personal health as a senior citizen. Instead, you must be proactive and aggressively seek to maintain your health, fitness, and happiness. This means continuing those visits to doctors, but it also means exercising more often, and making sure that you are far more active in life. It can also mean making certain that you have a few more ways to improve your healthfulness. Perhaps the best way to do that is to have a dog as a companion!
So why do so many senior citizens opt to adopt a dog when it can be such a huge responsibility and quite an energy-intensive drain? Well, many reasons, not the least of which is the positive health impact owning a dog has on a senior citizen; here are just a few ways a dog can help the elderly stay fit and healthy:
1. Stay Active With Your Dog
The simple fact is that as you grow older, your body begins to become more frail, losing muscle mass and bone density while organs begin to function a little less efficiently. Consequently, you have to work hard to maintain bone and muscle mass, much less to grow it, but it is possible – and all the moreso when you have a strong incentive to get out there and really stay active. A dog is exactly that: a friend and companion whom you are letting down if you don’t take him/her out. Furthermore, it is just plain fun to take your dog out for a run or a walk! It’s hard to say the same of doing so alone.
2. Never Be Lonely Again
As you age, you can begin to feel lonely. Friends and family move away, get involved in other things like their own families or their careers, and generally leave you with a hole in your social life. This can lead to a lack of activity and stimulation, and thus, depression. As you can imagine, that isn’t exactly desirable. A dog, however, will always be there for you, will always want to spend time with you, and will always lend you a sympathetic ear to listen when you are troubled. Regardless of age, these are all things we need in our lives.
3. Protect Your Heart’s Health
As much as we may love our dogs with all of our metaphorical hearts, your real heart can also benefit from owning a dog. Scientific studies have revealed that senior citizens who own dogs have a lower blood pressure and a lower cholesterol level than their non-dog owner counterparts. This, in turn, reduces the risk of heart disease, thereby decreasing the number of visits you have to make to the doctor – saving you time and considerable money to boot! Even after you’ve had a coronary event, studies have shown that dog-owners have a greater chance of recovering and living long, happy, healthy lives post-event compared to non-dog owners. If that isn’t a great reason to own a dog, then we don’t know what is!