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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her son come over to open her jars. I still remember the day she came in all excited saying, ‘I can open my jars again!’ This was due to the safe yet strengthening methods used in teaching Tai Chi.”


Durbin first started teaching senior citizens when he was in his 30s. Now he is a senior citizen himself and has the skill, health and physical ability to demonstrate the nuances of the many martial arts of which he is a master to people of all ages. His youngest student is 6 years old and he has taught people as old as 100 years.


“Most of all, training in the martial arts improves one’s mental health and disposition,” Durbin said. “Medical research has shown that training in Tai Chi and other martial arts helps fight depression.”


For more information about top-quality martial arts instruction or information for all ages about self-defense training in general, call (502) 848-0060 or visit http://kiyojuteryu.com/home.html.

When thinking about who participates in the martial arts today, many groups are excluded. But even people who are Living Well 60+ could benefit from true, traditional martial arts to attain health and longer life.The trick with proper martial arts training is to first of all find someone who is a well-qualified instructor. Then, consider whether the instructor has the students’ best interests at heart. There are telltale signs this may not be the case. If you have come to a martial arts studio seeking good-quality training and instead there is compulsory sparring – especially if people are getting hurt – this is not good training. If competition and one-upmanship is all that’s emphasized and true learning takes a back seat to aggressive behavior, this is another sign of a less-than-ideal facility.


Bill Durbin, the Soke, or Headmaster, of Kiyojute Ryu Kempo, has been training and teaching martial arts since 1970. His many books and articles on the subject of traditional martial arts are complemented by his dojo in Frankfort, where you can find him working out with his classes daily, teaching traditional, self-defense-based martial arts.


“The best thing about teaching older people and senior citizens martial arts, whether Kempo Karate, Jujutsu, Tai Chi or other related arts, is watching them maintain their health and wellbeing,” Durbin said. “One of my students started Kempo training at age 56, and at age 82 she still trains at the dojo in Kempo karate, Jujutsu and many other arts. And she also helps teach a Karate for Kids class, working with children ages 6 to 13.”

OLDER PEOPLE CAN BENEFIT FROM MARTIAL ARTS


Durbin offers assurance to older adults who feel they can handle more vigorous exercise: “If older adults can do push-ups and sit-ups, regular noncompetitive martial arts of self defense are a great way to improve their health in all three aspects of fitness: flexibility, endurance and strength.”


For those who need lighter options, perhaps due to infirmity, Durbin says Tai Chi is perfect. “It improves all three aspects of fitness, but in a much more gentle manner,” he said. “The movements are slow, fluid and non-stressful. Medical research has proven Tai Chi improves the immune system, increases brain density, builds new neural pathways and increases general flexibility. It also strengthens the skeletal structure and improves muscular strength, all in a safer way than aerobic exercise or strength-bearing training.”


The relationships and teachings developed from martial arts training, where everyone wants the best for everyone else, are invaluable and meaningful.


“One of my favorite memories of teaching senior citizens was a lady in her 80s who was lamenting being unable to open jars any more,” Durbin said. “She had

CHARLES SEBASTIAN

Charles Sebastian is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by charles sebastian