CHICAGO - A summertime walk in the park with Fido counts toward one’s daily constitutional. The forced exercise regimen benefits man as well as his four-legged best friend.
“The need to provide daily walks for a dog is great for dog owners as well,” said vascular surgeon, Leila Mureebe, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery®. “Exercise is good for the body’s blood supply, for maintaining proper body weight, and for controlling blood pressure.”
For persons with high blood pressure – one in three Americans over age 20 have high blood pressure according to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report – exercise is important.
Likewise, Fido’s calming effect can be a lifesaver for humans. Studies have disclosed that petting a dog reduces blood pressure and heart rate in humans. This stress buster provides positive health benefits for the owners of 77.5 million dogs that reside in 39 percent of households according to The Humane Society of the United States
High blood pressure and stress contribute to the fourth leading cause of death in America: stroke. The National Vital Statistics Report indicated that 137,000 Americans died of stroke in 2010. The American Stroke Association estimated that Americans spent $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability in 2010.
“Every 40 seconds, an American suffers a stroke,” said Dr. Mureebe. “Strokes occur suddenly and without warning. Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable through risk factor management.”
Thirty minutes of daily exercise, not smoking, and proper nutrition are included in “risk factor management.”
A United States National Institutes of Health-funded study of 2,000 adults discovered that persons who regularly walked their dogs were more physically active and less likely to be obese than non-dog walkers.
“I’ve seen improvements in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes when patients enter into a routine of daily exercise, not smoking, and healthy eating,” said Dr. Mureebe. “A brisk 30-minute walk with your dog is good for both of you.”
During hot summer months, it’s suggested to take walks in the early morning or after-dinner hours. This limits sun exposure as well as possible heat stroke for both Fido and his owner.
Additional vascular health information appears on: VascularWeb.org.
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About the Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society for Vascular Surgery® is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,350 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its website at www.VascularWeb.org
® and follow SVS on Twitter at http://twitter.com/VascularHealth
as well as on Facebook, Linkedin, and YouTube.