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Coll Antropol. 2011 Sep;35 Suppl 2:73-5.

Regular dog-walking improves physical capacity in elderly patients after myocardial infarction.

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Clinic for Cardiovascular Disease Treatment, Prevention and Rehabilitation, Hospital Thalassotherapia Opatija, Croatia.


Various positive effects of pet ownership on cardiovascular health are well known. The aim of this prospective and controlled longitudinal study was to determine the effects of everyday dog-walking on physical capacity in elderly patients during the first year after myocardial infarction. Regularly dog-walking for at least 15 minutes three times a day is related to significantly higher work load on the bicycle exercise test (72.5 +/- 10.75 versus 67.6 +/- 11.6 W p < 0.05) in the "dog-walking" group (N = 29, mean age 72.5 years) at 12 months compared to the control group (N = 30, mean age 71.7 years). Our results suggest that dogs may help to maintain continuous physical activity in elderly cardiovascular patients promoting their physical capacity. Further researches are needed to confirm this association as well to identify other possible influences of dog ownership on the cardiovascular health and on the outcome in patients after myocardial infarction.

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