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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With all the demands that are put on our eyes every day, it is essential to take care of them and even exercise them to strengthen them and possibly improve your vision.


In the past, people were hunters, farmers and gatherers. They were used to looking over far distances to seek prey and other possible sources of food. But now we live in a two-dimensional world, where all day long we stare at flat computer and telephone screens that are 6 to 24 inches away our eyes. The stress this puts on our eyes creates more eyestrain, more headache and more fatigue. The backlit screens have more blue light to them, and this can actually cause damage to the macula at the back of the eye.


There are several things you can do to combat eyestrain. Try adjusting your schedule so you’re not staring at your computer as much. Have proper, adequate lighting to work and read by – the more natural light the better. Another thing you can do to help your eyes is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds. Time often gets away from us when we’re playing a game or typing or doing research on the Internet, so it’s imperative to take regular breaks. You could even set a timer on your phone to remind you to do your 20-20-20 routine.


The average person sitting or walking will blink about 22 times a

LOOK OUT FOR YOUR EYES

minute, but when someone is staring at a computer, he will blink only about seven times a minute. Blinking distributes fresh tears across the eyes, keeping them lubricated and helping to stave off dry eye. Try pressing a warm wet cloth to your eyes to soothe them and unclog the tear ducts.


An active therapy program can help you improve your eyes’ tracking, pointing and moving skills. It will also improve your spatial awareness and judgment. All these skills are learned and anyone can improve them at any point in time. Playing games such as corn hole or shooting baskets is beneficial as well because these activities make you track and follow the bag or the ball. You’ll get instant feedback on how accurately your eyes are pointing and working together.


There are online videos that can show you simple exercises involving all six of the pointing movements of the eye, and they can have a great impact on your eyes’ strength and abilities. They’re also an excellent way to relax your eyes after a rough day or to use as a warm-up to get ready for the next workday spent in front of a computer.


Vision is a very complex sense. It takes a multi-pronged multi-faceted approach to care for and preserve this most pre- cious of senses. Look out for your eyes!