HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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your intake of undesired ingredients such as extra sodium, preservatives, flavor additives and food colorings.


A Word of Caution About Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit juice contains substances that can inhibit critical enzymes in drug metabolism. As a result, if certain medications are taken within the same day you consume grapefruit juice, an interaction can take place that could cause drug toxicity. Seniors are most often prescribed medications and are major consumers of grapefruit juice; as a result, the potential for an unwanted grapefruit juice-drug interaction in this population is substantial, says the Food and Drug Administration.


Variety is the Spice of Life

Eating a variety of foods brings color to your plate and a diverse array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your body. Specific colored fruits and vegetables offer particular antioxidants. For example, orange-yellow vegetables contain flavonoids, while red-purple-skinned berries are rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols. These antioxidants are critical for cellular health and protection. Also, according to the American Gut Project, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can enrich the diversity of bacterial species within the gut microbiome. Different types of fruits and vegetables contain varying types of dietary fibers, which feed beneficial gut bacteria residing in the gastrointestinal tract. A healthy and robust gut microbiome is important for protecting digestive, mental and immune health.


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5 NUTRITION TIPS FOR SENIORS


Increase Nutrient Density with a “Whole Foods” Approach

Nutrient-dense foods are high in vitamins and minerals but low in calories. Examples include vegetables, fruits and some whole-grain products. Choosing foods that are recognizable in nature, as opposed to highly processed, reduces

SARA POLICE, PH.D




Sara Police, Ph.D, is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences and director of a new online graduate certificate in applied nutrition and culinary medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. She is a nutrition educator for graduate and professional students.

Maintain Hydration

With aging, the sense of thirst can diminish. Also, some medications make it important to take in plenty of fluids. An extra glass or two of water throughout the day will help maintain hydration. Try adding frozen grapes or cherries, slices of citrus fruit or cucumbers and mint to your water for a refreshing twist. Unsweetened teas, broth-based soups, fat-free or low-fat milk and diluted juices are other good alternatives. Avoid sugar-sweetened juices, sodas and sports drinks, which can add unnecessary calories and are associated with weight gain.


Read Nutrition Labels

Nutrition labels contain important information for consumers, including the amounts of different macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, proteins) in grams per serving and as a percentage relative to the daily recommended amount. Here are some key tips for seniors for reviewing Nutrition Facts labels: