Dog leads people to be become more physically active

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How a four-legged friend could be the key to health

Researchers have revealed that a man’s best friend could be the key to human health.

Rather than being given drugs to treat or prevent illnesses such as heart disease or depression, experts are suggesting sufferers be prescribed a dog instead, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Sydney University researchers are conducting a study involving more than 100 people, half of whom will not own a dog, while the other half will adopt a pooch.

The study, for the Physical and Affective Wellbeing Study (PAWS), will monitor the participants’ health indicators during an eight-month period before documenting how a dog can benefit human health, physically, mentally and socially.

Academics believe dogs can aid heart health by encouraging their owner to become more active while they also help curb loneliness.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis said the world-first research will provide a valuable insight into the health benefits of dog ownership.

“(The study) could support programs promoting and enabling dog ownership as a means to increase physical activity­, improve general health and prevent cardiovascular and mental illness,” he said.

“We have a broad view on how dog ownership might influence human health and this includes physical activity as there is the perception that acquiring a dog leads people to be become more physically active.”

He then went on to explain that another set of hypothesis focuses on the psychological benefits of having a dog, as well as on human connection.

“Dogs can be a catalyst to facilitate humans to talk to each other when walking the dogs,” Professor Stamatakis added.

According to The Daily Telegraph, more than 40 percent of Australian households have at least one pooch. story from…

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