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Science Says Time Spent With Dogs At An Early Age Reduces Chance Of Asthma

Science Says Time Spent With Dogs At An Early Age Reduces Chance Of Asthma

Some people abandon their dogs before their kids are born so as to avoid pet allergies. While a research has been done to prove the opposite.

According to a team of Swedish scientists, children who grow up around dogs will have a 15 percent less chance of developing asthma later in life. This is compared to children who did not have the company of these furry friends.

Research Background

The team used the national register to study the association between children’s contact with dogs and the children’s future respiratory development. They studied the data of over a million children in Sweden using nine different national registers. The new data included two previously unused dog ownership registers.

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This study is perfectly tailored to Sweden because every citizen of the country is assigned a unique number associated with their name and identity. Whether they go to the doctor or order a prescription, this number is recorded, and then disassociated with the data for privacy protection.

The Swedish government even monitors dog ownership. Every family that owns a dog has registered their pet with the government since 2001.

Results

With all of this information, scientists were able to better collate the number of dog owners who then went on to suffer from asthma.

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While this study demonstrates figures, such raw data does not give people all of the information they need regarding the prevention of respiratory diseases. It demonstrates the association between asthma and pet ownership. However, it does not show why people with dogs may suffer less from asthma.

This study demonstrates correlation but it doesn’t provide a causal link between the two numbers. Previous studies have been done on this topic but none have garnered substantial results that led to conclusions. However, some studies have shown that living in a rural area or on a farm can reduce the likelihood of asthma by 50 percent.

Possible Reasons

The Hygiene Hypothesis

What this study does do is throw weight behind what is called the hygiene hypothesis.

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The hygiene hypothesis argues that children who are raised in sterile environments are more likely to have underdeveloped immune systems. As a result, they are more likely to suffer from allergies and auto-immune diseases later in life.

Hygienic areas and industrialized countries have led to fewer infectious diseases in the world. Simple hand washing techniques combined with other anti-bacterial or anti-viral products have generally prevented whole continents from being plagued by infectious, preventable diseases. This is great. But there are downsides to ultra-sterile environments.

Essentially, when your environment is too clean all the time, it is harder to fight off disease. In some cases, the immune system might even begin mistaking your body for disease. This is the underlying cause of most auto-immune disorders.

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Studies have suggested that the more children are exposed to germs, the healthier they are likely to be later in life. This does not mean that a family simply needs to throw out the antibacterial products. It means engaging in everyday life and picking up germs, like the germs that you pick up from dogs.

The Hygiene Hypothesis and Asthma

But preventing asthma is not as simple as picking up a new pooch. Asthma is not just caused by extensive cleanliness. There are certain factors that attack the body that can cause asthma, too.

Asthma can be caused by allergens or irritants in the air. It can also be caused by respiratory infections. Some people get specific genes from their parents that lead to the development of asthma.

Ultimately, asthma is not a black and white disease. Many people suffer from it differently. Because of this, and the lack of further information in the study, scientists cannot prove much with the current data. It is true that some people who had dogs as a child did not grow up to develop asthma. But until researchers find out why, it is best to depend on Fido for love, compassion and protection rather than for the prevention of respiratory diseases.

Featured photo credit: How can I recycle this via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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