(Nutley, NJ)—An increasing number of studies show that dogs can be more than just pets or best friends—they can actually improve people's health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets actually make a difference when it comes to cardiovascular health, including lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The reason? Exercise seems to be the answer. Research indicates that even moderate exercise can have a significant impact on the human body and, reportedly, dog owners spend approximately thirty minutes a day walking and playing with their dogs as well as taking care of them.

"In my personal experience, I’ve noticed that people with dogs participate in regular physical activities, either walking, grooming or playing," says Joe Dwyer, dog trainer, owner of four dogs and author of the new book Shelby’s Grace. "There is no doubt that beyond the joy and fun people get from interacting with dogs, they get a lot of therapeutic and health benefits."

In his book, Mr. Dwyer describes his remarkable odyssey with an abused pit bull named Shelby, who he saved from a shelter. In return, she saved him from a terrible depression and anxiety, and together they recovered their senses of purpose. Now Shelby is a certified therapy dog who helps people in difficult times.

Other research from the State University of New York discovered that pet owners are half as stressed as people without pets. Just spending fifteen minutes daily with a dog or cat, either petting or talking to it, has a calming effect and makes pet owners more relaxed.

Today dogs are used in hospitals and nursing homes because fact-based and anecdotal research seems to suggest that they offer emotional support and help patients to heal faster. These dogs are known as therapy dogs.

Many studies show that because of regular physical activities, dog owners have:
• Lower blood pressure
• More active lifestyles
• Less stress and anxiety
• Better immune systems
• More social interactions and dates

"Dogs bring a lot of fun and unconditional love to my family, and at the same time they are big-time stress relievers," says Mr. Dwyer. "I have four dogs, and I know the importance of having them in my life. They definitely help me to deal with everyday stress and give me tons of positive and optimistic vibrations. They make me enjoy my life."

For more information, contact Joe Dwyer at joe@shelbysgrace.com.

Author's Bio: 

Joe Dwyer is a motivational speaker, a life coach and a member of the National Speakers Association. He is also a dog trainer and a martial artist. Previously, he worked as a chemical engineer and an executive for Verizon and the Archdiocese of Newark. Joe is a man of faith and spirituality, and he supports rescue groups and therapy dog training. He lives in Nutley, NJ, with his family and four dogs.