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Study: Is Owning A Dog The Secret To Feeling Younger?

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(credit: Hadas Kuznits)

(credit: Hadas Kuznits)

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ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (CBS) – Want to feel younger? Get a dog.

That’s the takeaway from new research out of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

The research, which is published in the journal Preventative Medicine, found that dog owners over 65 acted 10 years younger than their age.

Scientists say they monitored the activity levels of 547 elderly people in Scotland. The average age was 79, and about 9% (or around 50 people) owned dogs. Seventy-five-percent of those dog owners walked their pup regularly.

The dog owners in the group were reportedly 12% percent more active than the non-dog owners, and had significantly lower levels of depression, backing up earlier studies. Those with a pooch or two also demonstrated physical activity levels of someone about 10 years younger.

According to Dr. Feng, a senior lecturer at the School of Geography and Geosciences, “Our results suggest that dog ownership may motivate personal activity and enable older people to overcome many potential barriers such as lack of social support, inclement weather and concerns over personal safety.”

Can’t get a dog? Dr. Feng recommends borrowing one from a friend, or starting a walking group in your neighborhood.

To read more about the study, click here.

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