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We've always suspected it, but now scientists have confirmed that dog owners are more likely to have better cardiovascular health.

The research was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings and involved 1,769 people between 25 to 64-years-old, living in Brno in the Czech Republic.

Each participant had to provide information on their BMI, diet, physical activity levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, if they smoked or not and their fasting blood sugar levels.

42 percent of the candidates owned a pet of some sort, with 24 percent of people owning a dog and 17.9 percent owning another animal.

The American Heart Association heart score system test was used, looking at seven changeable risk factors of heart health.

Dog owners were more likely to exercise, have an ideal diet and blood glucose level than those who didn't, but they were more likely to smoke for some reason. They still scored better overall for cardiovascular health, however.

The study authors cautioned: "The higher smoking rates among dog ownership attenuates the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health."

Existing evidence links dog ownership to better mental and physical health, so it makes total sense.

Study co-author Andrea Maugeri commented in a statement: "In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level.

"The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level."

Research claims that getting a pooch could be a useful way to boost heart health, and an important way to tackle the prevalence of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US alone, causing one-in-four deaths each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Senior investigator Francisco Lopez-Jimenez stated that owning dogs has previously been linked to better mental health and feeling less lonely, both of which are assumed to decrease the risk of heart attacks.

One study published last year in the journal BMC Psychiatry, which examined 17 existing papers concluded having a pet could help the symptoms of mental illness.

Philippa Hobson, senior cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation, told Newsweek: "Whether you're a pet-owner or not, physical activity can benefit your heart in lots of different ways.

"Just spending 10 minutes a day walking around the block is good for your heart health."

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It's long been assumed that the best way to get in shape is to eat less and move more. 

It's a pretty simple formula, which, for the most part, does actually work, but only to a certain extent. 

According to one personal trainer, those of us looking to shed a few pounds and get lean should ditch the spin classes and leafy greens if we want to avoid looking "skinny fat". 

“To lose weight and tone up you do not have to do intense cardio five times per week to get results,” Camilla Akerberg told the Daily Mail.

“If you don’t already have a good muscle volume – this method can leave you looking skinny-fat rather than the desired toned and fit look.”

Instead, she recommends incorporating weight training into your exercise routine to help build lean muscle mass. 

To get to most out of your workout, Camilla advises using heavy weights and repeating each movement eight to 12 times. 

But of course, health and fitness starts in the kitchen, so in order to see results, you'll need to be eating a balanced diet of lean proteins, healthy fats, carbs, fibrous vegetables and fresh fruits. 

“A small salad a day and an overdose of cardio seems to be a common perception of what you need to do to see weight loss results,” Akerberg said. “Getting leaner, or maintaining a toned physique is NOT about not eating. 

“It’s about eating the right nutrition in the right amounts that suits your body and your goal. Food is not the enemy, but the key to a healthy body, a fast metabolism and the ability to get results.”

So, at the end of the day, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' miracle fitness regime. The best results come when you take the time to find what works for you and your body.

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At this point everyone has heard that introducing some cardio exercises to your fitness routine has plenty of benefits.

However, we have also heard that it is not the only way to kick start a weight-loss programme. In fact, many in the fitness industry are encouraging us to step away from the treadmill. 

Including cardio in your routine increases heart health and helps to burn fat, but it might not be setting our metabolisms alight as we had hoped.

Too much cardio can raise your stress levels, and when your cortisol hormone levels are high, you won’t be able to lose the weight you want to. 

Cadence Dubus, a NYC based personal trainer to celebs like the cast Girls explains:

"If you look at the New York Marathon, the majority of the people jogging by are chubby, and most of them have probably been logging 12, 15, or 20 miles a week."

This can be attribute to how the calories you burn increase as you move from a resting level of metabolism to an exercising rate of metabolism. So, going from a steady walk to a run for example.  

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This type of exercise can boost your metabolism for hours even after you have stopped exercising.

So, if you’re spending hours and hours a week on the treadmill sweating it out at a steady jog, then your metabolism will also stay at a steady rate.

Incorporating sprint intervals into your cardio routine can help avoid this. 

Strength training is also recommended. Cadence adds that if you are exercising with body fat in mind, to remember that "building muscle is where you burn calories," says Dubus.

So if you’re looking for a more ‘toned’ physique, your treadmill addiction is probably not helping. 

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We all know amazing abs are easier to envy than actually achieve – and it's no secret that rock hard abs take a LOT of work.

But some women have it down to a fine art and these seven things are what they do everyday to keep their tummy toned:

1. They try new things

Your body adapts to new things quickly so it's important to change up your routine to achieve the best results.

 

2. They set realistic goals

Instead of going to the gym and only thinking about your abs; go thinking about getting an extra 10 seconds in your plank or lasting an extra five minutes running.

 

3. They use gym time wisely

If you don't have all day to be in the gym, think about what workouts are more efficient and what will help your body gain more in less time.

 

4. They opt for lean meats and smart carbs

Choose lean meats like chicken and fish, as well as sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, and whole-grain breads to include in your everyday diet.

 

5. They cheat – but only every now and then

It's OK to have a day off and eay a large Dominos – you're only human after all. But make sure that your cheat day is only ONE day.

 

6. They do planks instead of sit-ups

Planks are more effective for targeting your core than a classic sit-up and are proven to engage more of your abdominal muscles.

 

7. They do cardio

There's really no way around it if you want amazing abs.

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