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Dogs may be good at more than just playing fetch or greeting you at home after work. Studies suggest dogs can also help keep you in good health.

Here are 3 ways dogs as pets improve your health!

A Healthier Heart 

Your dog may make you less likely to get heart disease - dog owners walk more and have lower blood pressure than people that don't have dogs. 

Pets can also be good for you if you already have heart problems. Studies show that heart attack survivors and people with serious abnormal heart rhythms who own dogs live longer than people with the same heart problems who don't have pets

Stress Soothers

Petting your dog feels good. It can lower your blood pressure, helps your body release a relaxation hormone and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone.

It also soothes your pet, says Alan Bec, ScD, director of the Centre of the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University.

Better Mood, More Meaning

People with pets are generally happier, more trusting and less lonely than those who don't have pets. They also visit the doctor less often for minor problems. One reason for that may be that your pet gives you a sense of belonging and meaning, McConnell says. "You feel like you have greater control of your life". See more health benefits from owning a dog here.

We here at Schiller have an 'office dog', Karma, who our Director Harry belongs to. We all find it a nice way to calm down during a hectic day by giving her a pat and taking her on short walks throughout the day. 

It goes to show that a dog really is man's best friend!

 

"Wear your Beanie for Brain Cancer Awareness Day" is an event created by the Mark Hughes Foundation  to create awareness and support for Brain Cancer. All funds raised go directly to Brain Cancer Research at Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI). 

Mark, a local Newcastle legend and founder of the Mark Hughes Foundation was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in July 2013. Mark has since had treatment and currently MRI scans show no regrowth of the tumour.

"I've accepted that it's a journey and a path I've been given now, and with that an opportunity to turn something negative into something truly positive. The Mark Hughes Foundation is a way I can truly repay those who've helped me and help others in my position."

He has such a positive outlook, we wish Mark and his family all the best for this journey.

So make sure you wear your beanie & make a gold coin donation (or more) to such a worthy cause!

Pictured above Sue, Simone, myself, Mathew & Harry sporting our beanies!

 

So here is what we know about fat…

  • Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter and lard, pies, cakes and biscuits, fatty cuts of meat, sausages and bacon, cheese and cream.
  • Eating a diet that is high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, which increases the risk of heart disease, according to NHS Choices.
  • Most of us eat too much saturated fat - about 20% more than the recommended maximum amount.
  • The average man should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day.
  • The average woman should eat no more than 20g of saturated fat a day.

However according to Dr Aseem Malhotra, these facts are incorrect. In an opinion piece published in the British Medical Journal late last year Dr Malhotra claims there is too much focus on saturated fat with other factors such as sugar often overlooked.

It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated fat in heart disease.

Dr Malhotra, a cardiology registrar at Croydon University Hospital, London, says the mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades.

The food industry has compensated for lowering saturated fat levels in food by replacing it with sugar, he says, which also contributes to heart disease.

Adopting a Mediterranean diet - olive oil, nuts, oily fish, plenty of fruit and vegetables and a moderate amount of red wine - after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing mortality as taking a statin, writes Dr Malhotra.

However, Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, says studies on the link between diet and disease frequently produce conflicting results.

Unlike drug trials, it is difficult to carry out a controlled, randomised study, he says.

However, people with highest cholesterol levels are at highest risk of a heart attack and it's also clear that lowering cholesterol, by whatever means, lowers risk.

Cholesterol levels can be influenced by many factors including diet, exercise and drugs, in particular statins, he adds.

For more on Dr Assem Malhotra stance on saturated fat and the role sugar plays on heart disease, you can view his full interview with the BBC here.

It's true, SCHILLER Defibrillators save lives! Just ask Darren Kay who has amazingly saved not one, but two fellow soccer players out on the field in less than a year. 

Armed with a SCHILLER defibrillator and years of experience as a paramedic, Kay says that it should be mandatory for sporting clubs across Australia to own a defibrillator. For more information on the importance of defibrillators and how you can earn one for your club, follow this link. 

 

WARNING: Viewer discretion advised. Content may be graphic and unsettling for some.

Heart failure is the number one cause of death across the globe

While there are a number of preventative measures you can take now to avoid heart failure in the future, for some, a heart transplant is the only option.

With 5,000 heart transplants performed each year and approximately 50,000 potential candidates, this incredibly invasive surgery can often give life back to recipients when all is lost.

In 1967, when this procedure was first conducted, rejection was common. Most recipients passed away within 18 days of a transplant. Recipients now though have much better odds with a survival rate of 90% in the first year and 74% in the five years post surgery.

Before the procedure candidates must pass numerous physiological and tissue testing. Even once the candidate has been approved for a transplant issues in donor compatibility can arise.

Here you can view this incredible operation for yourself. There is a warning on this content though. It may be graphic and unsettling for some. Viewer discretion is advised.

Earlier this week I wrote about new research that has just come out of the US relating to self-control and willpower.

The study highlighted that while it appears willpower is a finite energy source, you can do exercises to increase your supply. A little like building muscle at the gym.

Here, Belle Beth Cooper from Buffer talks about the 6 best ways you can strengthen your willpower in every day life, as well as a couple of exercises to get you on your way.

1. Increase your capacity for pressure: Learn how to manage stress

Being under high levels of stress means that our body’s energy is used up in acting instinctively and making decisions based on short-term outcomes. Stopping to take a few deep breaths when we feel overwhelmed or tempted can be a great start in managing our stress levels and improving our willpower.

2. Encourage yourself to stick to your plan

Self-affirmation can even help you to have more self-control when you’re running out, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. A good example of this is the difference between telling yourself “I can’t” and “I don’t.” Taking back control of the situation using the phrase “I don’t” has been shown to be more effective at helping you to stick to your plan and break bad habits: Every time you tell yourself “I can’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that is a reminder of your limitations.

This terminology indicates that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. So try telling yourself that you don’t do that 'bad habit', rather than punishing yourself by saying I can’t.

3. Get more sleep to help your brain manage energy better

Sleep deprivation (even just getting less than six hours a night) is a kind of chronic stress that impairs how the body and brain use energy. Daniel Kripke an acclaimed sleep researcher, found in a recent study that

people who sleep between 6.5 hours and 7.5 hours a night, live the longest, are happier and most productive.

4. Meditate (for as little as 8 weeks)

Meditation has also been linked to increasing the reserve of willpower we have available, as well as improving attention, focus, stress management and self-awareness.

5. Better exercise and nutrition: The most ignored route to higher willpower

Another great way to train the brain, that is often easily ignored or undervalued, yet can make you a lot more resilient to stress, and thus boost willpower, is regular physical exercise. Both relaxing, mindful exercise like yoga and intense physical training can provide these benefits. Not only will exercise and good nutrition improve your willpower, but they’ll make you feel better as well. Exercise in particular is known for making us happy by releasing endorphins.

6. Postpone things for later to gain focus on what’s important now

Postponing something you really shouldn’t have can be effective if you’re trying to break a bad habit. In Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. Roy F. Baumeister explains that people who tell themselves “not now, but later,” are generally less tormented by the temptation of something they are trying to avoid.

Rewarding yourself for holding out is a great exercise to begin. It can be a great way to encourage the development of willpower. Like these poor kids with their marshmallows.

Another exercise to try is to choose your food mindfully. By choosing your food mindfully, you exercise your willpower, with every meal you take. Choose your food in such a way to make sure that you are not harming your body, or your mind while you are eating. Or at the end of your shower everyday, blast yourself with cold water. This will challenge your comfort zones.

For a whole list of these exercises, and more, check out Wiki How for some great tips.