Here are seven health-boosting superpowers a pet could bestow upon you (you know, if you're a fan of happiness and personal fulfillment):
Even if all you want to do is stay on the couch and hang out in ShondaLand, nothing will rip your ass off the cushion faster than your dog's I'm-going-to-pee-on-everything face. You won't have a choice but to finally put your exercise routine on lockdown. Studies have shown dog owners walk more often than people who don't, so it's a great way to squeeze more movement into your day.
Pets do ridiculously cute things that bring laughter into our lives — and we lurv talking about their cuteness, which spreads the wealth. Plus, with the laughs come oodles of health benefits: "When you laugh it strengthens your immune system, boosts your energy, relaxes your body, improves blood flow, decreases pain and decreases the stress hormones that can make you store fat," says health expert Kyra Williams. Bring on the giggles!
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found pets provide mood-boosting social and emotional support. "We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions," lead researcher Allen R. McConnell, Ph.D., of Miami University in Ohio said in a statement. "Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners."
A 2013 study from the American Heart Association revealed that pets may lower your heart disease risk, since pets have been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and have a positive effect on your body's reactions to stress.
Pet owners are more likely to meet new people and foster new friendships when out for walks, giving your pet the opportunity to engage with furry friends too.
A 2013 study published in the journal Health & Place found dog owners who took their dogs out walking a minimum of four times a week were more likely to feel connected to their community than those who didn't.
According to a study from Miami University and Saint Louis University, owning a pet makes people — especially those who live alone — feel less lonely. And in another, lonely people found as much comfort in thinking about their pet as they did their closest human friend.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!