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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Eucalyptus.

This plant contains tannins, which may help reduce swelling and pain.


Flaxseed or Linseed Oil.

The seed oil from the flax plant lubricates joints and lessens stiffness and joint pain. Flaxseed acts as a blood thinner so talk to your doctor if you take blood thinners, aspirin or other NSAIDs.


Garlic.

Garlic has anti-arthritic activity that prevented cartilage destruction and reduced inflammation in arthritis-induced rats.


Ginger.

One study of a specialized ginger extract found it reduced inflammatory reactions in RA as effectively as steroids. Sliced raw ginger root can also be applied topically to areas of pain and swelling.


Green Tea.

Green tea contains antioxidant-rich substances that can help reduce inflammation, protect joints and trigger changes in immune responses to ease the severity of RA and OA.


Green-Lipped Mussel Extract.

This New Zealand mussel is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have the same anti-inflammatory effects as fish oil. It helps both RA and OA.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA).

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. In one study, fish oil significantly decreased joint tenderness and stiffness in RA patients. It is also helpful for OA.


Rosehips.

Rosehips, the seed pods of roses, are rich in vitamin C, which decreases inflammation. Clinical trials showed rosehips powder reduced hip, knee and wrist pain by about one-third in nearly 200 OA patients.


Stinging Nettle.

The leaves and stem of this plant, used to make a tea, can reduce OA inflammation, aches and pains.


Willow Bark.

One of the oldest treatments for inflammation, use of willow bark dates back to the time of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in the 5th century BCE. It contains salicylic acid, which is very similar to aspirin. Its potent anti-inflammatory properties reduce various markers of inflammation.


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HERBS THAT HELP RELIEVE ARTHRITIS PAIN

swelling in RA and OA and increase mobility, they may also have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects comparable to NSAIDs.


Capsaicin.

The heat-producing component in chili peppers temporarily reduces a certain pain- transmitting substance. A German study showed joint pain decreased nearly 50 percent after three weeks of using 0.05 percent capsaicin cream.


Cinnamon.

A study found women with RA who consumed cinnamon powder capsules daily for 8 weeks had a significant decrease in blood levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), as well as reduced disease activity, including tender and swollen joints.


Curcumin.

The active component of turmeric, curcumin, is in the same family as ginger. It can reduce joint pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness related to RA and OA. Talk with your doctor before taking curcumin if you have an iron deficiency.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions that affect individuals of all ages. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States: More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis, according the Arthritis Foundation. Two of the most prevalent types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Swelling, pain and stiffness are common complaints with both.


Some herbs have been shown to help relieve arthritis pain. These include:


Avocado-Soybean Unsaponifiables.

A natural vegetable extract made from one-third avocado oil and two-thirds soybean oil, it blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals, helps regenerate normal connective tissue, inhibits the breakdown of cartilage and promotes repair.


Boswellia (Indian Frankincense).

Derived from the gum of boswellia trees native to India, boswellia has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help treat RA and OA. It may prevent cartilage loss and inhibit the autoimmune process, according to the Arthritis Foundation.


Bromelain.

A group of enzymes found in pineapple that can decrease pain and

ANGELA S. HOOVER




Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine