Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Health and Hedonism
According to the Franklin Institute, Benjamin Franklin wrote "Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy." At long last the medical community has caught up with Franklin. We're now told that wine is good for us. In fact, the AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons), our Geezer Guild, in the latest issue of their Bulletin published "10 Tips for Better Health." Pay attention! This is an invitation to hedonism.
1. Throw a Party. Research suggests that an active social life not only makes life more enjoyable but also may extend it. One study suggests that poor social ties may be more damaging even than smoking, lack of exercise or obesity. Party down! (See item 5).
2. Adopt a pet. Companion animals are said to have much the same effect as social interactions with other humans. Plus, a dog makes a perfect walking companion. And a cat sitting in your lap is a good excuse for not walking, or doing chores, for that matter.
3. Chocolate is Health Food. I'll repeat that statement: Chocolate is Health Food! YeeHa! Make mine dark chocolate. (See item 5).
4. Coffee also is good for you. After all these years we're now told drinking coffee helps lower risk of dying from heart disease, diabetes, or pneumonia. Coffee with caffeine may also offer some protection from skin cancer, liver damage (see item 5), and Parkinson's. It just keeps getting better!
5. Ben Franklin was right. Wine is good for you, and so is beer. Both can be considered part of a heart-healthy diet. I love dieting! And did you know, red wine and dark chocolate are a perfect combination?
6. Have more sex. Are we preaching to the choir here? The benefits, aside from the obvious, include the increase in release of endorphins in the brain (think mood enhancement and a sense of well-being), benefits to the immune system, and lessening of depression.
7. Enjoy music. (See numbers 5 & 6). Among the other benefits cited, increased blood flow, mood enhancement, better sleep, less anxiety, and less pain.
8. Nap. Benefits include mood enhancement, improved memory, enhanced alertness, and better learning.
9. Enjoy nature. We who have enjoyed hiking and backpacking have known this for years. During the high-stress work years, a weekend spent in the mountains, walking along Rhododendron-lined stream banks and through forests reset all the systems. The mood enhancement and improvement in sense of well-being were easily recognized. Science also tells us it promotes healing after surgery, improves immunity, and helps diabetics control their blood sugar.
10. Do what you want. OK, that may be a little strong. What the article said was "At least once a week, buy yourself the present of spending time doing exactly what you want."
So, the next time someone accuses you of being a hedonist, just smile smugly and think "I'm going to outlive you." And thank you AARP for pointing all of this out. You may visit the AARP website and read the article yourself by clicking here. If I'm lying I'm dying!