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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The duration of the different massages varies. “There is a trend toward longer two-hour treatments but there is also a trend toward real short 20-minute treatments [where you are] fully clothed during lunch break,” said Hutchison.


If you have never had a massage before, talk about what you expect and want. “Speak up if you have preferences, like a male or female therapist, and do not feel embarrassed,” said Hutchison. During your massage, let the therapist know how you are feeling. “If the pressure is too much or too little you need to have a voice,” Hutchison said. “You should know you can keep on or remove as much clothing as you are comfortable with and you will always be professionally draped. Disrobing is probably the No. 1 [reason] people do not get a massage.”


As with anything, there are some contraindications to massage. “If you have a fever, an acute injury, had a recent operation or a pregnancy in the first trimester, we would not recommend a massage,” said Hutchison.


Sometimes it can be nice to have a massage as a couple. “There are suites designed just for couples, and each person has their own table and therapist,” said Hutchison.


Massage Envy says massage is medically beneficial and offers more reasons to get one:


•  improves posture;

•  improves circulation;

•  promotes deeper and easier breathing;

•  relieves headaches;

•  strengthens the immune system;

•  enhances post-operative rehabilitation; and

•  improves rehabilitation after injury.


Taking all of this into consideration, it may be a good idea to schedule a massage today, whether it is your first or your 50th.

Many people are drawn to massage for the eclectic atmosphere of the massage center, the serenity they feel or the radiance it adds to their well-being.


“Massage relieves stress,” said Cindy Hutchison, co-owner of The Massage Center & Yoga Studio. “The passive movement of the blood through the body helps slow the heart rate down and reduce blood pressure, and people relax .”


While the word relaxation gets repeated quite frequently when discussing massage benefits, pain management is another reason people turn to massage.


“People get massages for low back pain, fibromyalgia, muscle tension and muscle pain from exercising,” said Hutchison. “It restores balance to the muscles that are overly tight and helps relax the tension. The circulation of blood through the muscles helps get the lactic acid out of the muscles so people can get back to their training or exercise.”  


Older people find massage helps them with their range of motion. Some people say they can sleep better when they receive regular massages.


“A lot of times [lack of] sleep is stress-related,” Hutchinson said. “A

BENEFITS OF MASSAGE INCLUDE STRESS RELIEF, RELAXATION

massage can break the cycle and give you an example of what being relaxed feels like.”


Massage is also helpful for your emotional state. “It can help ease symptoms of depression,” said Hutchison.


Nearly everybody can benefit from massage, Hutchison says. “People are realizing stress is going to be the No. 1 reason their health declines,” she said. “Each individual is different, but because massage has done so many things for their health, it is part of their wellness plan.”


Just as all massage receivers are not alike, all massage is not the same. “Therapeutic massage is our most popular,” Hutchison said. “That indicates someone is coming in for a specific treatment to a certain area of the body for a specific kind of result.”


Another option is relaxation massage, which Hutchison describes as a gentle and relaxing. Deep-tissue massage is a deeper massage with pressure.

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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