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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and both can help. You can take over-the-counter preparations or increase your consumption of such fiber-rich foods as oats, beans and citrus fruits, as well as whole wheat products, wheat bran and vegetables. Sometimes tranquilizers, sedatives, anti-depressants or antibiotics may be prescribed. Imodium may be used for severe bouts of diarrhea.


IBS may have prevented you from doing certain things, such as going out or going to work or school, but most people benefit by following a healthy diet, learning new ways to deal with stress and avoiding foods that may make symptoms worse, and they are able to resume their activities.


SOURCES:

Cincinnati Public Library

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

National Institute of Health

www.familydoctor.org

Jenny is a plain-spoken, no-nonsense woman of 35 who finds herself concerned about her frequent bouts of abdominal pain, bloating and alternating diarrhea and constipation. This condition began after her mother’s death and has continued intermittently for the past two years. She has cut out her favorite pastimes of bowling and movies, leaving the house generally only to go to work or the grocery store. When Jenny went to her doctor complaining of the symptoms, he told her she had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


In the past, IBS was also known as spastic colon. It is not a disease but a group of symptoms, including primarily both abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. Bloating and gas, feeling a strong urge to have a bowel movement, mucous in the stool and either constipation or diarrhea or both can occur with IBS. These symptoms are usually mild, but they do affect the day-to-day lives of people who have them. It is a problem of the large intestine but it does not damage it. IBS affects about twice as many women as men and most often occurs in those younger than age 45. The National Institute of Health has conducted studies that estimate IBS affects 10 percent to 15 percent of U.S. Adults.


The condition is caused by changes in the way the gastrointestinal system works, but the specific, known causes are generally vague. Most researchers believe a combination of factors cause the syndrome.

DEALING WITH IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

Treatment consists of leading as healthy a lifestyle as possible: eating a variety of fruits and vegetables; drinking plenty of water; and perhaps eating five small meals a day rather than three larger ones.


Another aid in treatment is avoiding foods that make symptoms worse. Coffee, carbonated beverages, chocolate, certain fruits, beans and cabbage are a few foods your system may not be able to tolerate. Experiment and keep a log to determine what makes your IBS worse.


IBS also causes emotional distress. Like Jenny, many people who have the abnormality are affected emotionally, some wanting to curtail their activities. Find ways to handle stress because stress tends to aggravate the symptoms. Travel, certain social events or changes in routine may trigger IBS and make the symptoms worse. A routine of exercise, relaxation training and meditation are beneficial in dealing with stress and reducing the severity of the symptoms.


You may want to increase the amount of fiber in your diet. This helps improve the way the intestines work. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with MSN from the University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health &Wellness magazines. She has an article in the Fall 2016 issue of Today’s Christian in the Mature Years.

more articles by jean jeffers