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Good News: Cats Are Good For Your Health

Good News: Cats Are Good For Your Health

Scientists studying the human-animal bond have discovered there are health benefits of owning a cat. Yes, even that belittled “black cat” can be good for you!

1. Help your cardiovascular system

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    Studies at the University of Minnesota determined those who did not own cats were 30-40% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than cat owners were. (Sorry, dog owners, you don’t see the same benefit.) The chance of death from sudden heart attack is reduced, too, for cat owners. A study funded by the NIH determined that pet owners were more likely than non-owners to survive a heart attack, regardless of the severity of that attack.
    Other research suggests that owning a cat compares favorably with going on a low-salt diet for reducing heart disease risk.

    2. Help your immune system

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      The immune system gets a boost from the feeling you get just by owning a cat. Owning a cat may lead to improved social support, reduced depression, and more laughter, play and exercise – all of these help your immune system function better.
      And cats can tell when you’re not feeling well. They help you get better by coming to comfort you.

      3. Avoid allergies and respiratory problems

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        Children who are raised around cats (and dogs) develop immunity to allergens at an early age. The incidence of respiratory problems, including asthma, is reduced in children exposed to cats early in their lives.
        As a bonus, children raised with pets appear to develop greater empathy for the feelings of others and relate better to other people.

        4. Lower your blood pressure

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          Petting your cat is calming and reduces your blood pressure. Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo found lower blood pressure in the study subjects who owned pets compared with those who did not.

          5. Lower your cholesterol and triglycerides

          Diet and exercise go a long way toward reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but owning a cat helps, too. A 2006 Canadian study found owning a cat lowered cholesterol better than even some medications.

          6. Reduce your stroke risk

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            A University of Minnesota study determined cat ownership can reduce your stroke risk by up to one-third!

            7. Heal your bones and muscles

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              Cats purr at a frequency between 20-140 Hz, which is known to have therapeutic effects. Bones heal best at 25 Hz and 50 Hz frequencies (and 100 Hz and 200 Hz are also helpful). Soft tissues like muscles, tendons and ligaments heal faster at these frequencies. And infections and swelling are also healed in this frequency range.

              8. Reduce anxiety and stress

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                In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, with more work and less socializing, interacting with a pet brings play-time and creativity back into your life. Caring for your cat and cuddling with your cat take your mind off your own worries and reduce your levels of anxiety and stress.

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                9. Improve your mood, relieve depression

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                  Cats may have the reputation of being solitary, unsocial animals but cat owners know this is not the case. The love and companionship of a cat helps you feel better about life in general and can lift your mood and lessen feelings of depression.

                  10. Reduce loneliness

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                    Having a person-cat connection is a form of social interaction. If your group of friends is small, or far away, your cat can help relieve your feelings of loneliness. If you come home to an empty house at the end of the day, spending time with your cat can uplift your mood.
                    Families today are smaller and often far apart. Empty-nesters fulfill the need to nurture and find a reason to get up in the morning by owning a cat. The social support provided by your pet may encourage you to interact more with other people.

                    11. Therapy pets reduce medical expenses

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                      People who own cats make fewer doctor and hospital visits. When they do visit the hospital, they are discharged earlier. Overall, their medical expenses are reduced.
                      Therapy dogs are fairly common in nursing homes and special-needs schools, but there are therapy cats, too. Cats know who needs a good purring!

                      12. Exercise

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                        Cats don’t need as much exercise as dogs, but they still love to play. Make your cat your exercise buddy and help him bat a toy mouse around! Watch your cat and learn how to stretch! Observe how many times your cat stretches – and when he does it – and join in!
                        The “pet effect” can improve your quality of life. Cats may not be able to confer their “9 lives” onto their owners, but you can improve the one life you do have by sharing it with a cat!

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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.

                          More Tips on Getting in Shape

                          Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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