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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Prostate cancer is more likely to occur as men age. Bladder cancer also becomes more common. The NIH encourages treatment for heart disease and diabetes that may prevent problems with urinary and sexual function. Healthy eating and exercise also helps promote healthy aging.


SOURCES:

National Institute on Aging, “Health and Aging: Can We Prevent Aging?”

NIH Medline Plus: “Aging Changes to the Male Reproductive System”

Aging brings natural changes to the human body. In women, there is menopause. In men, there is andropause.


Andropause is the term given to the condition of aging in a male. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says men do not experience a major, rapid change in fertility as they age as women do with menopause. The changes in men occur more gradually. Testicular tissue mass decreases and testosterone, a hormone made in the testicles, decreases or stays the same. A man may have more of a problem getting an erection, and the process may be slower and less intense. Men continue to produce sperm, but the tubes carrying the sperm may become less elastic.


The prostate enlarges with age as some of the prostate tissue is replaced with scar-like tissue, according to the NIH. This condition is called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and is a common health problem that affects about 50 percent of men. BPH may cause problems such as slowed urination and ejaculation.


Fertility does not seem to be affected as men age. The volume of fluid ejaculated during sex remains the same as men get older, but there are fewer living sperm in the fluid. Men may have a lower sex drive (libido), and sexual responses may be slower. Age itself does not prevent a man from being able to enjoy sexual relationships, says the NIH.

THE MALE VERSION OF MENOPAUSE? - CHANGES IN AGING MEN OCCUR GRADUALLY

Testosterone levels naturally drop with age. According to the NIH, testosterone has the following benefits:


1.  Keeps bones and muscles strong.

2.  Determines hair growth and fat storage.

3.  Makes sperm.

4.  Maintains sex drive.

5.  Makes red blood cells.

6.  Boosts energy and mood.


Symptoms of low testosterone include a diminished sex drive, problems having an erection, a low sperm count, sleep problems, a decrease in muscle size and strength, bone loss, an increase in body fat, depression and trouble concentrating.


Hormone therapy in the form of a gel, patch, injection or implant may help low testosterone levels. Treatments such as these keep bones and muscles strong. It is unclear, however, whether hormone therapy is helpful for older men with low testosterone levels.

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with MSN from the University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health &Wellness magazines. She has an article in the Fall 2016 issue of Today’s Christian in the Mature Years.

more articles by jean jeffers