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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in Bowling Green. The community is the birthplace of famous cake-making legend Duncan Hines. Once in the Green River Valley, explore Mammoth Cave State Park, which has some 400 miles of underground passages. Once you’re back in Bowling Green, a visit to the National Corvette Museum right across the street from the assembly plant is a must for car lovers.


Next, head to Northern Kentucky to view the beauty of the Ohio River and the Trail of Tears. Here the community of Smithland has some historic buildings and there are opportunities for fishing or swimming near the dam. While in the area, check out the Kentucky Opry. Its founder, Clay Campbell, played guitar and sang with Lee Mace and the Ozark Opry.


Take the time to enjoy the beauty of the Bluegrass this fall and take in some history – and a shot of the best bourbon anywhere.

Where can a Sunday drive take you to admire the fall foliage of the Bluegrass State? Kentucky is known for its rural beauty, horse farms and bourbon trail. Its rivers and state parks provide glimpses of deer, turkey, elk, birds and other wildlife. When you depart from the many interstates and onto some of Kentucky’s beautiful country roads, you are in for a scenic treat.


Consider the beautiful views along the Red River Gorge and Nada Tunnel from Stanton to Pine Ridge. The drive along this 30-mile stretch snakes along the Red River with opportunities to stop and enjoy the many vistas. In Stanton, savor the easy one-mile hike to Sky Bridge, which is great for those who enjoy photography because of its natural rock arch. Along Route 77, drive through the 900-foot Nada Tunnel, which was once a railway tunnel and now serves as a connector between the Red River Gorge and the vast Daniel Boone National Forest.


Another lovely Kentucky drive is the Big Lick Loop. This route will take you from Carrollton and Big Lick Hollow on the outskirts of the quaint town of New Haven. The trails at Big Lick Hollow afford spectacular views of the North Fork River, and New Haven is full of Kentucky railroad history. In the fall, you’re likely to encounter the historic Highland Renaissance Festival or Celtic Fest there.  

FAVORITE FALL COUNTRY DRIVES IN RURAL KENTUCKY

A must for some would be the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway that goes from Hodgenville to the center of Danville. This 70-mile stretch is beautiful all year round, but fall especially highlights this jaunt through various small towns and bourbon country. There are opportunities to explore sites of interest for Civil War enthusiasts, such as the Civil War History Museum in Bardstown and the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. While in Bardstown, known as “The Bourbon Capital of the World,” sample an ounce or two at the Maker’s Mark Distillery or Jim Beam’s American Still House.


For those who enjoy fine wine, consider the Elk Creek Winery Loop that takes you  through rolling hills, small towns and stretching farmlands. Be sure to investigate the capitol city of Frankfort, where there are several old churches, including the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, built in 1835. Elk Creek Vineyards, established in 2003, offers more than 20 varieties of wine, two free winery tours each day and live entertainment and dinner specials on the weekends.


There are plenty of country roads along the Duncan Hines Scenic Byway. Allow a day to fully savor the sights along this route, beginning with the Kentucky Museum

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP



Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.