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Walk your dog, get rid of blues!

Besides being an excellent company, dogs also keep loneliness and depression at bay, says a UK study.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2006 14:46 IST

Dogs have not been named ‘Man’s Best Friend’ for nothing. Not only do they provide excellent company for their human owners, but as it turns out, your constant companions are also responsible for keeping loneliness and depression at bay.

A new study by researchers at the University of Portsmouth has found that an activity as simple as taking your pet dog out for a daily walk can help lower depression and the sense of loneliness in owners.

The reason, the researchers state, having to take their pet dog for a walk meant that the owners were getting some form of exercise, even if they didn’t want it, and this in turn had people feeling better as they often meet like-minded people while out.

The study, carried out by the university's Department of Environmental Design and Management, found that dog walking was not only beneficial for adults, but also for young kids, for while it provides good exercise to adults thus helping them remain physically fitter, it also encourages kids to venture outdoors and spend less time in front of the television.

This “contact with nature”, the research’s lead author Dr William Bird states, improves both physical and mental health.

"Increasing evidence suggests that both physical and mental health are improved through contact with nature. Yet people are having less contact with nature than at any other time in the past. This has to change," the Daily Mail quoted him, as saying.