After a long and rough day at work, the sight of a beloved pet waiting with a joyful bark or enthusiastic purr easily brightens one’s mood. Pets are companions and friends. Whether you’ve opened your home to a dog or cat, even a bird or a cage-dwelling hamster or rabbit, you’ve not only given comfort to a lovable creature but you have taken a step toward aiding your own mental and physical health.
Chronic joint pain can sideline some activities if not cared for properly. Ownership of a pet, however, may provide benefits that aid in relief from joint pain and stiffness. The responsibility of keeping an active pet, like a dog or cat, encourages frequent exercise and mobility. Pets require care, from morning feedings to regular walks for dogs. Young, energetic pets will want to play often, too, and it’s good to take advantage of movement to increase circulation and maintain fluid joints.
Depending on your pet, the movement can center on the joints that need the most help. The act of tossing a ball to a dog, or holding out a lure toy for a rabbit or cat can help flex finger and wrist joints and reduce stiffness.
Time with a pet, too, can help reduce stress and take your mind off stressful situations. The National Center for Health Research has reported on how pet ownership can contribute to lowered blood pressure and an increase in mood. The happier you are, the more likely you want to exercise and stay healthy to enjoy the time with your pet.