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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8. Yogurt – It’s a good source of calcium and probiotics, which means it protects against bone mineral density loss and osteoporosis and also optimizes gut health by removing harmful bacteria. Get yogurt fortified with vitamin D, which helps in the absorption of calcium. Yogurt has protein also and helps you digest food.


9. Fiber – Dietary fiber, especially that found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, helps regulate the digestive system, which may ease constipation. Fiber can reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation, resulting in a healthier heart. Fiber also lowers the risk of diabetes, controls blood sugar and helps fight obesity.


10. Olive oil – This helps increase your amount of anti-oxidants. According to one study, there was a drop in bad cholesterol (LDL) and an increase in good cholesterol (HDL) among people given extra virgin olive oil.


11. Carotenoid-containing Foods – The phytonutrients found in yellow vegetables and fruits such as orange bell peppers, carrots, squash and oranges can help improve the skin’s vibrancy and stop collagen breakdown.


12. Green Tea – You can drink it hot or cold; it’s full of flavonoids that may protect against heart disease and certain cancers. It also contains catechins (one of the most effective compounds for preventing sun damage such as hyperpigmentation) and polyphenols (antioxidants that combat free-radical damage and may reverse the effects of aging).


13. Wine – Red wine contains resveratrol, a compound that likely contributes to its benefits and, according to animal studies, may activate genes and slow cellular aging.


14. Water – The lack of H20 can lead to dehydration, fatigue, mild headaches, constipation and many other health problems. So make sure you drink enough water every day.

With age, the body changes. Digestion isn’t as efficient. Your sense of taste may change due to medications or you may have problems chewing. A visit to the doctor will let you know you need to eat a balanced and healthy diet, combined with adequate exercise, and take other measures to age well.


Here is a list of the best anti-aging foods you can eat:


1. Berries – They are delicious and packed with various anti-oxidants that prevent or reduce damage to your cells. All berries possess a high concentration of minerals and vitamins that can protect cell health and stave off the effects of free radicals.


2. Salmon – Along with other fatty fish such as sardines and mackerel, salmon is heart healthy and high in omega-3 fatty acids and may help prevent stroke. It’s recommended to get at least two servings of salmon a week.


3. Beans – Most beans are packed with fiber and minerals, which are crucial for overall health. They prevent bloating, constipation and cramping and improve nutrient intake.

THE BEST ANTI-AGING FOODS

4. Dark Chocolate – It’s full of flavonoids that protect the skin from various types of UV radiation, which speeds up the aging process.


5. Cruciferous Vegetables – Cauliflower and broccoli help the liver break down and excrete toxins. Broccoli, enriched with beta-carotene and vitamin C, helps keep weight down. Steaming broccoli is the best way to hold onto its nutrients. Kale is full of vitamin K, potassium and lutein that keep blood pressure in check and help maintain healthy bones and vision.


6. Tomatoes – They are high in lycopene, which can help protect against lung and prostate cancer. Processed or cooked tomatoes, as in paste, sauce and juice, may be more effective than raw ones; mashing or heating them releases more of the fruit’s lycopene.


7. Nuts – They’re full of omega- 3s, unsaturated fats, protein, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and fiber, which can have a great impact on your bone strength, inflammation, blood pressure, hormonal balance and growth and repair of cells and tissues. Try to get five one-ounce servings per week.

HARLEENA SINGH

Harleena Singh is a professional freelance writer and blogger who has a keen interest in health and wellness. She can be approached through her blog (www.aha-now.com) and Web site, www.harleenasingh.com. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

more articles by harleena singh