Zoos have been around for centuries, and their popularity has ebbed and flowed over time. One thing has remained constant: People love to visit their local animal zoo. There are many reasons why people go to zoos, but the primary motivation is seeing animals up close.
Zoos can be educational institutions, providing valuable information about animals from all over the world; they can also be conservation centers, helping to protect endangered species and promote breeding programs that increase the population of threatened animals; and zoos can be entertainment venues, offering a fun day out for families with children.
One not so known fact about an animal zoo is its benefit to one’s mental well-being. Thanks to years of research, we now know that visiting a zoo is actually good for one’s mental and physical health.
In this article, we’ll explore the health benefits of visiting your local animal zoo. We will start by understanding zootherapy and how it works before diving into how spending time with animals can reduce stress, improve one’s mood and enhance healthy habits.
Zootherapy is a form of therapy that uses animals to help people to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. Animals that are used in zootherapy include horses, dogs, cats, and other animals.
The way zootherapy works is simple: the patient interacts with animals in a safe setting, such as an animal zoo or petting farm with domesticated animals. This interaction can include anything from gentle stroking and petting to feeding or simply observing an animal as they perform their daily activities.
For example, horses have been shown to be extremely beneficial, especially to younger individuals experiencing mental and behavioral issues, dogs can help to improve people’s social skills as they respond to people’s emotions, and cats can help to reduce people’s stress levels.
Zootherapy can benefit people of all ages. However, it is most commonly used to help children and adults who have autism or ADHD. Animals can also help to establish healthy habits in people trying to lose weight or struggling with addiction.
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5 Surprising Health Benefits of Visiting Animal Zoos
Living in an age where technology is constantly evolving, many people have forgotten the importance of interacting with animals at animal zoos. Recent studies have found that spending time at an animal zoo offers surprising health benefits. Here are five of them:
1. Helps Reduce the Effects of Depression and Loneliness
Most zoos have a zoo animals list that enables guests to know what animals they have. The companionship that said animals provide can be a huge help to people who are struggling with depression and loneliness. Studies have shown that interacting with an animal can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and can also help to increase self-esteem and self-confidence. In addition, animals can provide us with unconditional love and companionship, which can be incredibly beneficial when feeling down.
2. Helps to Reduce Stress
Spending time with an animal can help to reduce stress levels. Studies have shown that interacting with animals—such as in the case of zootherapy—can help to lower blood pressure and heart rate, and can also help to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, animals can provide us with a sense of calm and can help us to feel more relaxed.
3. Helps to Improve Physical Health
Having an animal can also help to improve our physical health. Walking or playing with an animal can help to increase our level of physical activity, which can, in turn, help to improve our cardiovascular health and help to reduce our risk of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes. This is especially true for domestic animals, such as dogs, which need lots of exercise.
4. Helps Children With Autism and ADHD
Interacting with animals can also benefit children with autism or ADHD. Animals can help to provide children with a sense of calm and can help to reduce their levels of stress and anxiety. They can also help to improve children’s social skills and can help to increase their level of communication.
5. Helps Establish Healthy Habits
Interacting with animals can also help to establish healthy habits. For example, children who have pets may be more likely to eat a healthy diet, as they are exposed to healthy foods and learn how to cook and eat healthy foods.
Why You Should Visit Your Local Animal Zoo
There are numerous reasons animals can positively impact our mental well-being. They provide companionship, encourage us to be more active, help us reduce stress, increase our sense of responsibility, and teach us about empathy and compassion. By spending time with animals at your local animal zoo, you can enjoy multiple mental and emotional benefits that can improve your quality of life.
Immerse yourself in an animal zoo and feel so much better! Tanganyika Wildlife Park offers one of the region’s most unique experiences. Visit us today.
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