Saturday, August 13, 2016

Why is Dog Ownership Important After Retirement?

Karl Heyne and Heynfeld Varrgo (CL I ‘A’ ‘Z’ H-neg) (better known as Arko)

Post retirement dog ownership is something that can be considered as a kind of health advice – both physical and psychological health. Apart from some of the common facts that a well-bred dog can keep you active, and helps you fight loneliness after your retirement, a dog brings in a healthy structure and routine to your daily life and improves your quality of life.

Very recently the American Heart Association reviewed studies exploring the correlation between health and dog ownership. The findings concluded that owning a companion dog helps having a controlled blood pressure and healthy cholesterol level. Chances of obesity and developing arthritis decrease due to the need for regular walk.

Dog Ownership and Stress Management 

Studies have shown that healthy interactions with therapy dogs effectively mitigate stress in dog owners. As effect of such interactions with companion dogs the humans tend to generate stress-bursting hormone oxytocin and controls the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. This hormonal change helps a stressed out, retired person feel relaxed. Interact with the dogs through physical contacts like hugging and petting them produced better results.

A team of Italian researchers, noticed that introduction of a dog to Alzheimer’s patients showed gradual improvement in the patients' condition.

Live a Purposeful Life After Retirement

As already mentioned above, owning a dog brings in a healthy structure and routine to your daily life.Your dog lives on a natural structure in her everyday life, which is bound to bring in a structured discipline into your life too.Your pet’s dependence on you for everything – starting from the play and walk to food reveals immense opportunity for you to establish a consistent routine as a responsible pet owner in your daily walks of life.Your dog will lick you awake to go for a morning walk, followed up a free play session, and then asking for her meal. This keeps you active throughout the day and helps you feel engaged, responsible and productive after you retire from your working world.
How better can you kick start your day than by waking up with licks and hugs? Retirement should help you find a new way to wake up from your bed each morning. It is very pleasant way to start the day when some million dollar licks awake you up and you like to hug your dog, and find an immediate purpose to get out of bed.

Post Retirement Fitness 

A majority of responsible dog owners are dog walkers, who get at least 30 minutes of exercise on an average each morning and evening. Regular walks in the morning and evening are great ways to stay healthy – both physically and mentally. Regular walks will ward off possible health issues like obesity, diabetes type II, hypertension, arthritis and loss of volume and strength of skeletal muscle mass (sarcopenia).

Post Retirement - Mental Fitness and Social Life 

Depression is quite common when you are retired from your working life. It pulls you back from meeting friends and going out with acquaintances. Benefits of dog ownership treads its way here. Psychologists say owning a pet – especially during your retired life adds a little more responsibility which, in turn, can introduce a positive note to your life. Sense of responsibilities towards a pet that entirely banks upon you helps you feel your worth and significance. Moreover, he/she will like to develop new contacts and meet other dog owners in the locality. This means he/she becomes more and more social.

All these tend to keep the person in proper shape mentally. This is how dog ownership, in the retired life, is often implicated in relieving symptoms of depression– especially among elderly people after their retirement from working life.

 Karl Heyne and Heynfeld Varrgo (CL I ‘A’ ‘Z’ H-neg) (better known as Arko)

Direct Health Benefit

Research in the 1980s popularized the view owing a companion dog could have great health benefits in humans... including benefits ranging from lower mortality rates from heart attacks to lowering risks of asthma (in children) and reducing chances of developing cardiovascular conditions.
However, modern researchers have found no direct link between owning a pet and health benefits. Therefore, previous conclusions could not be scientifically supported by modern studies.


There’s still another proposal placed by modern researchers. According to them, pets help to enhance social interactions with more pet owners, thus have indirect effect on well-being. “Being Social” and “interaction with like-minded people” has long been recognized to have a tremendous beneficial effect on health by the way of alleviating symptoms of depression by reducing loneliness and social isolation.

Pets – especially dogs therefore act as a catalyst for social interactions, leading to developing broader social sphere, thus contributing to better physical and psychological well-being in older people and those who have just retired from their works.

Photos courtesy Noreen Symes

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