We hire personal trainers, join online communities and gather friends and family to help keep us on track and in shape. Did you ever consider that your cuddly cat or positive pooch could also improve your health too? While studies show that the simple act of petting a dog or cat can lower blood pressure, there are many other ways that our four-legged friends can help us stay fit and be healthy.

Your Dog, Your Trainer

It’s true that dogs help alleviate high blood pressure and in some cases high cholesterol simply by being in your life and keeping you moderately active, but did you ever think of your dog as a motivator to keeping up your fitness levels?  It’s true!

Rain or shine your dog wants to go outside. So take him up on the offer and extend that walk or toss around the Frisbee ten minutes longer. Get him to play fetch and run around the yard with your pup instead of standing still. The added exercise benefits both you and your animal. It may also put you in the mood to keep working out for longer periods of time even after a crushing day at the office.

Foster Immunity

Having a pet doesn’t just reduce stress. It also helps create less anxiety.  They also bring in a host of germs that can strengthen you and your loved ones immune systems. I bet you never looked at your dog or cat like that before.

Feeling blue? Your pet is there to listen unconditionally and provide warm support and wet kisses on the hardest days. Petting a dog beats drowning your sorrows when it comes to heart health and weight issues too. Even babies can benefit. Being around pets at an early age decreases the level of allergies and asthma in children versus those raised without. It’s a win-win for the whole family.

Get Connected

Whether it is at the dog park or heading to your local pet store; pets offer ways to get involved with others and more opportunities for social connections. This reduces stress, decreases anxiety and alleviates some bouts of depression. People with other dogs or cats will connect with you faster and friendships can be founded just on the shared interest in a particular breed or type of animal.  The world opens up when you have shared experiences including owning a dog or cat. The same is true for children who often find that confiding in a family pet is easier to do than with adults or other children.

What joys have your pets brought you?