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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Snow sledding with family members has long been a part of winter fun. You probably went sledding as a child, and you’ll want to share this fun activity with your children. From a health and wellness perspective, sledding can also cause injuries, some of them pretty serious, such as head injuries, the most common sledding accidents seen in emergency rooms. These can even be deadly. Children sledding can risk injury in collisions with objects, rocks, trees and other children or even adults. To keep children safe while sledding, make sure they follow these safety tips from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:


1.  Parents or other adults must supervise children at all times while they are sledding.

2.  When hills are coated with snow, they may all look like great spots for sledding, but be very careful when choosing a location for your kids to sled. Not all hills are safe. Sled only in designated areas free of fixed objects such as trees, posts and fences.

3.  All riders must sit facing forward, steering with their feet or a rope tied to the steering handles of the sled. No one should sled head-first down a slope.

4.  Do not sled on slopes that end in a street, drop off, parking lot, river or pond.

5.  Children under 12 years old should wear a helmet.

6.  Wear layers of clothing for protection from injuries and frostbite.

7.  Do not sit or slide on plastic sheets or other materials that can

SLEDDING AND SAFETY: ENJOY SOME FAMILY FUN

be pierced by objects on the ground.

8.  Use a sled with runners and a steering mechanism, which is safer than toboggans or snow disks.


SOURCES & RESOURCES:


•  American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org


DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut and Professor Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Department of Gerontology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

more articles by dr thomas W. Miller