I’m one of those people that love to read…books, magazines, journals. I used to list reading as a hobby on those questionnaires that I would answer but too many people called me a nerd so I stopped and replaced “reading” with “fishing.” I find that in December there are so many lists that are published and some are pretty interesting to read, and some not so much. This list that I am blogging about today is a good one as it begins with the benefits of owning a dog.… so here are some of the things in our lives that are good for us…

Dogs as they help their owners live longer and healthier lives. A Swedish study involving more than 3.4 million participants found that people with a pooch had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. The link was especially pronounced among people who lived alone. Those with dogs were 33 percent less likely to die early, and 11 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.

Camping could help cure the grogginess and lethargy associated with poor sleep. In a University of Colorado, Boulder study, volunteers who went camping for a weekend slept almost two hours longer than normal during the trip; on their return, their melatonin levels started rising more than two and half hours earlier than before. Researchers believe this is because increased exposure to natural light helps reverse the adverse effects that modern indoor lifestyles have on the body’s internal clock.

Chili Peppers may help you live longer. In a study involving 16,000 people over about two decades, University of Vermont researchers found that those who routinely ate the hot pods were 13 percent less likely to die during that period than those who didn’t. They suspect that capsaicin┬áthe active ingredient that give peppers their heat, might boost metabolism and help prevent obesity, high blood pressure, inflammation and cancer.

Coffee does more than wake you up. Two large studies involving diverse groups of adults found that people with a daily coffee habit were less likely to die from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer. Over a study of 16 years, people who drank two to four cups of Joe a day – decaf or regular – were 18 percent likely to die. Researchers believe the drink’s health benefits stem from its complex mixture of powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.

Marriage could help ward off dementia. An analysis of 15 studies involving more than 800,000 people found that those who never married had a 42 percent higher risk for this form of mental decline than those who tied the knot. Married couples tend to encourage each other to stay active, follow a healthy diet, limit alcohol consumption, and stop smoking – habits associated with reduced risk for dementia.

Breakfast could be the most important meal of the day. A study involving 4,052 healthy men and women found that those who generally didn’t eat breakfast were more likely to develop atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries. Researchers say this is likely because breakfast-skippers tend to eat more calories and unhealthy foods later in the day.

Running for a couple of hours each week could reduce the risk of early death by nearly 40 percent. After analyzing existing evidence on the link between exercise and longevity, researchers calculated that one hour of running-even at a slow pace- lengthens life expectancy by seven hours. This adds up over time; people who run regularly tend to live about three years longer than their non-running peers.

And I would remiss of I did not mention….

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