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About The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 31, 2018)
coulD increase lifespan
Dogs could be a man’s best friend
By Richard Hanners
Blue Mountain Eagle
ccording to a Swedish study
published Nov. 17 in the jour-
nal Scientific Reports, owning
a dog could lengthen lifespans.
Physical exercise, social interaction and
immunity are the benefits from dog own-
ership believed to lessen the risks of death,
the study’s authors said.
Persons living alone are believed to
be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease
and death than people living in multi-per-
son households, according to Mwenya
Mubanga, a Ph.D. candidate at Uppsala
University and one of the study’s authors.
The study looked at more than 3.4 million
Swedish individuals between 40 and 80
years old over a 12-year period.
For people living alone, owning a dog
can decrease the risk of death by 33 per-
cent and the risk of cardiovascular-related
death by 36 percent. Chances of a heart
attack were found to be 11 percent lower
than for people living alone without a dog.
Owners of hunting breeds, such as
terriers, retrievers and scent hounds, were
most protected from cardiovascular dis-
ease and death, according to the study.
Tove Fall, the study’s senior author,
noted that dog owners in general have a
higher level of physical activity, including
taking dogs out for a walk during adverse
“When it’s dark and gray here in Swe-
den or rainy, the only people you see out-
doors are people with dogs,” Falls told the
PBS News Hour.
But the findings also suggest increased
social well-being and immune system de-
velopment could explain why dog owner-
ship offers protection against cardiovascu-
lar disease and death. The dirt dogs bring
into homes and their licking behavior
could impact a person’s microbiome and
improve their health, it was suggested.
Another study, “All Creatures Great
and Small,” recently published in the
British Medical Journal, looked at 9,000
people with an average age of 67 and did
not determine that pet ownership made
any difference to the aging process. The
study did, however, find that walking a
dog could help with weight and cardio-
13 ways to exercise
with your dog
These ideas from health.com provide novel
ways to work out with your four-legged friend:
• Running: Short or long, rain or shine, but be
careful in heat and humidity because dogs don’t
sweat like humans.
• Active fetch: While your dog is chasing the
ball, consider some exercise of your own like
crunches, lunges and squats.
• Stair running: A good way to strengthen your
quads, hamstrings and glutes.
• Charity races: Dogs make the perfect train-
ing buddy, so consider a dog-friendly race.
• Soccer: Herding breeds love soccer, and balls
resistant to sharp teeth are available.
• Dog yoga: According to some, dogs are
a natural for yoga, but it’s mostly about the
• Stand-up paddleboarding: Dogs have no
trouble balancing on the nose of a paddleboard.
• Kayaking: Smaller breeds will ride the bow
of a sit-on-top kayak, while larger breeds stick
closer to the middle.
• Cycling: If your dog has too much energy,
take her biking. This will also help with behav-
• Rollerblading: Recommended for expert
skaters and in an area free from vehicular traffic.
• Dog-friendly boot camp: While you undergo
strength, balance and cardio training, your dog
practices obedience drills.
• Snow sports: Most dogs enjoy the snow, so
why not take them snowshoeing or cross-coun-
• Borrow a dog: If you don’t have a dog, call
a local animal shelter and volunteer to take dogs
out for walks and runs.
The Eagle/Sean Hart
Dog owners may live longer, according to a recent study.
Family Health Guide 2018 // 25