Evidence suggests that both physical and mental healing can be promoted in patients by way of physical activity and mindfulness practices which may benefit all aspects of well-being, boost quality of life, and help improve health outcomes. Physical activity and regular exercise routines are more regularly recommended to patients in the healthcare setting, particularly in cases of cardiometabolic disease that could benefit from its effects including decreased cortisol levels and inflammation, strengthened cardiovascular health, and improved weight management. A growing body of knowledge implicates the need for the incorporation of mindfulness practices into the healthcare system due to its potential to benefit prevention, diagnosis, and treatment interventions.
Emerging findings from intervention studies implicate healthy dietary patterns combined with lifestyle modifications have the potential to prevent and treatment mental health disorders and modify drug treatment effects.
There is strong evidence that nutritional patterns can affect later-life brain function; a healthy diet filled with high-quality foods has been linked to reductions in cognitive decline risk, while a poor diet appears to increase cognitive decline along with other health concerns. Mounting evidence suggests that early evaluation and treatment for depression can improve or maintain cognitive function in patients with mild cognitive impairment – the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, the risk of developing dementia is doubled in older adults with depression, whereas the risk of Alzheimer’s is up to 65% greater. Not only is a healthy diet beneficial for preventing neurological decline, but it can also help address cardiometabolic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic disorders.
Owning a pet has been associated with many health benefits, ranging from decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels to increased life expectancy. Pet dogs specifically provide opportunities for increased physical activity, socialization, and time spent outdoors while also improving emotional well-being by providing their owners with companionship. As a result, pet ownership is on the rise, according to data from the American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey. Per current estimates, 67% of households in the United States own at least one pet – which equals approximately 85 million homes across the country.
The full extent of the health benefits – and risks – of pet ownership is yet unknown, however, the latest research reveals that there may be positive neurologic implications of owning a dog. Published online in the journal PLOS One, a recent study from Johns Hopkins Medicine implicates that exposure to dogs at an early age may have psychiatric health benefits, including the lessening of the likelihood of schizophrenia development in adulthood.