Posts Tagged ‘Jim Evans’

Pounds and Your Portfolio

Friday, September 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 42-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today he explores the relationship between healthy lifestyle choices and retirement security.

DEAR JIM: My wife and I just returned from a meeting with our financial advisor, and we were surprised when he suggested that we both should lose weight, exercise more and take better care of ourselves. At first we were offended and thought perhaps he was overstepping his bounds, but after he explained himself it began to make sense. We hadn’t thought of it before, but our health affects the cost of our life insurance, health insurance and even our long-term care insurance — all of which are major factors in our retirement planning. Are other financial advisors offering the same kind of advice or is ours just ahead of the curve? ENLIGHTENED IN ESCONDIDO

DEAR ENLIGHTENED: Your advisor is definitely ahead of the curve — not necessarily because he is smarter than the rest but because he had the courage to bring up the subject of your lifestyle in the first place. I’m sure you can understand why some advisors might be reluctant to talk about such a personal issue for fear of losing a client. After all, it can be a sensitive subject to many clients who are expecting only to discuss the usual "black and white" facts and figures of retirement planning and are suddenly thrust into reconciling their lifestyle with their long-term retirement goals.

But it makes sense, doesn’t it? Fortunately, it is happening with more frequency. "In my experience, it happens more often than not anymore," says San Diego’s Michael Howland, a certified public accountant in private practice since 1991.

"I usually start out discussing, in general, how long my clients plan on living and how they plan on getting there," says Howland. "I don’t start out discussing lifestyle changes, but we talk about such things as:

  • How long do they expect to live?
  • How do they foresee their lifestyle after retirement?
  • How long do they expect to work?
  • How have they planned for their later years?
  • How do they expect to support their future lifestyle?
  • How much do they project their future lifestyle might cost?
  • "But then I start getting more specific," he continues:

  • Do they intend to live fast, die young, or plan life as a marathon?
  • Do we calculate in assisted living, long-term care, and/or children support?
  • Do their lifestyle, work, savings, and retirement objectives meet realistic expectations?
  • "I’ve never thought of it as personal," explains Howland. "It has always been simply a question of how long they expect their machine — in this case, their body — to keep working. If they find that uncomfortable, sometimes I back off, sometimes I don’t. With couples, I usually find one partner grateful for the discussion and one apprehensive. I have never had anyone become angry or indignant, but I probably wouldn’t push that hard unless I know them well."

    "Basically it’s a risk/reward decision," says Howland. "If they have an unhealthy lifestyle and expect to live a long life and haven’t planned on long-term care, we need to talk."

    In short, your health should be an integral part of your financial planning for retirement, and to ignore it is foolish and unrealistic. While unexpected illnesses and tragedies can happen to anyone — even those with a healthy lifestyle — many of the causes of disability and mortality in this country are preventable (e.g., heart disease, smoking, etc.). Your weight, your cholesterol, your blood pressure, your body mass index (BMI), your resting heart rate — all of these things and more should be factors in your planning. Your financial advisor is "right on the money" on this one — literally.

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    Overcoming Lack of Sleep

    Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    SFA author Jim Evans is a 42-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today Jim offers some healthy advice for getting sufficient, good quality sleep.

    DEAR JIM: For the past several years I’ve been tossing and turning all night and can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep. Worse, when I look in the mirror I can’t believe how old I look. I realize that at 74 I’m not a "spring chicken" anymore, but my age seems to be accelerating. I eat a well balanced diet and try to stay physically active, but I just can’t sleep as soundly as I used to and I’m tired all the time. Any suggestions? SLEEPY IN SANTA CRUZ

    DEAR SLEEPY: For starters I would recommend a complete physical examination to see if there are any underlying medical issues that might be causing your sleeplessness. A lack of sleep can have numerous undesirable side effects.

    Research indicates that the consistent lack of a good night’s sleep can negatively impact your ability to handle stress, compromise your health, increase motor and neurological deterioration, hasten the aging process, and ultimately shorten your life. You might have been able to tolerate less sleep when you were younger without any immediately noticeable side effects but not so when you are older.

    "We’re beginning to identify some of the underlying mechanisms that may help explain why organisms age," said Natraj Krishnan (krishnan@science.oregonstate.edu), a research associate in the Oregon State University Department of Zoology. He noted that "… young individuals may be able to handle certain stresses, but the same insults at an older age cause genetic damage and appear to lead to health problems and earlier death. And it’s linked to biological clocks."

    If your physical doesn’t turn up anything unusual, try some of the traditional methods of improving your sleep such as curtailing physical activity before you go to bed, avoiding caffeine for several hours before bedtime, and not going to bed hungry (but don’t eat too much late at night either). And, no, a warm glass of milk before you go to bed may not help you sleep despite what your grandmother used to tell you, but if you think it does, go for it. Most of us already know that drinking too much fluid before bedtime is usually asking for trouble, so go easy on beverages of any kind.

    Your room temperature can make a big difference in how you sleep, too, so turn off the heat at night (or at least turn it down if you live in a colder climate) and snuggle under the covers. You might even try reading in bed to help you wind down from the day’s activities.

    There are also other ways to improve your sleep habits, but definitely start with the physical check-up to rule out any medical issues. The important thing is to get to the source of the problem so that you can start looking — and feeling — more refreshed in the morning.

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    Owning a Pet Can Be Healthy

    Thursday, March 18th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    SFA author Jim Evans is a 42-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized fitness consultant. Today Jim shares a creative idea with a lonely widow seeking to cope with grief and depression.

    DEAR JIM: My health has been going downhill ever since my husband passed away last year after a long illness. I haven’t been handling my grief very well, and I find myself down in the dumps most of the time. My doctor has prescribed an antidepressant which seems to help a little, but I still can’t seem to shake this constant feeling of loneliness. I know you have always said that exercise helps to fight depression, but I really don’t feel up to anything very physical. Is there anything else you can recommend? DEPRESSED IN DULUTH

    DEAR DEPRESSED: I’m sorry for your loss, and I can understand why you don’t feel like engaging in any physical activity while you are still grieving. However, a little bit of exercise can help in your recovery, even if it’s only a daily walk around the block.

    So, let me suggest a different approach to accomplishing the same thing.

    I’d like for you to get up bright and early tomorrow morning, put on your favorite dress, and visit the local animal shelter. Don’t laugh. Okay, go ahead and laugh if you feel like it. Yes, I mean the animal shelter. And, while you are there, I want you to adopt the first dog — or cat — that you fall in love with. I guarantee that you will fall in love with one!

    Why a dog or cat? Because, according to the Centers for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/Healthypets/health_benefits.htm), pets can decrease your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, and diminish your feelings of loneliness. Equally important, they increase your opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities and for socialization.

    You guessed it: If you select a dog, you will have to take that cute little critter for a walk on a regular basis, so you’ll both benefit from some fresh air and exercise. With a pet, you will be responsible for its care and feeding, and you will be rewarded with "unconditional love and acceptance," says Rebecca Johnson, associate professor at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction.

    "Research in this field is providing new evidence on the positive impact pets have in our lives," adds Johnson in a report to UPI’s ArcaMax Publishing (http://www.arcamax.com/healthtips/s-620986-109857).

    You will be saving a life, too. Between three and four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters (http://www.hsus.org/). You can help an abandoned pet — and, perhaps, yourself at the same time.

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    Fit to Drive?

    Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    SFA author Jim Evans, a 41-year veteran of the health-fitness industry, is an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today he’s steering a concerned older adult towards safer driving.

    DEAR JIM: At 77, I find myself becoming more apprehensive about my ability behind the wheel. I haven’t told anyone about this — especially my children, because they would probably worry and take steps to keep me from driving anymore. It’s not that I’m a bad driver, but I just don’t feel as sure of myself as I used to, and I don’t want to have an accident and possibly hurt someone. Can you suggest anything to help me restore my confidence? APPREHENSIVE IN APPLETON

    DEAR APPREHENSIVE: You are not alone in your feelings, but at least you are honest enough to acknowledge your doubts and ask for help. More than 30 million drivers will be 65 or older by 2030 — one out of every four drivers — according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and they all will be experiencing the same feelings, whether they admit it or not. There is the fear of injuring someone else in an accident, of course, but let’s be honest — there is also the fear of losing your independence. What can you do about it?

    Let’s start with the physical part:

  • Maintain a regular fitness regimen to stay in optimal shape. It will boost your energy, your alertness, and your ability to respond quickly to road situations.
  • Schedule a physical exam every year to see if there are any conditions that might preclude you from driving.
  • Schedule a separate appointment regularly with your eye doctor to check your vision, including peripheral vision. Even though you might already wear glasses, don’t assume that your vision hasn’t changed. You might require a new prescription.
  • Check your medications to be aware of any side effects that might adversely affect your driving such as drowsiness, blurred vision, or disorientation.
  • Don’t neglect the physical condition of your car, either:

  • Make sure the seat is adjusted for maximum comfort to reduce fatigue, and position it so that you can see all the way around. Older adults typically lose height or "shrink" with age, so sometimes simply raising the seat can improve one’s ability to see more easily over the top of the dashboard.
  • Adjust your rear-view mirror and side mirrors to ensure maximum visibility from every angle.
  • Keep your windshield clean for optimal visibility and to reduce glare.
  • Check your tires regularly and have your car serviced on a regular basis to ensure its mechanical soundness. You will feel more confident behind the wheel if you know that your car is running smoothly.
  • And, finally, sign up for your local AARP Driver Safety Program http://www.aarp.org/family/housing/driver_safety_program/. The AARP Driver Safety Program (sometimes referred to as 55 ALIVE) is the nation’s first and largest refresher course for drivers age 50-plus and has helped millions of drivers remain safe on today’s roads. AARP has offered the course in the classroom for 25 years and now offers the same course online. It is designed to help you:

  • Tune up your driving skills and update your knowledge of the rules of the road.
  • Learn about normal age-related physical changes, and how to adjust your driving to allow for these changes.
  • Reduce traffic violations, crashes, and chances for injury.
  • Drive more safely.
  • Get an insurance discount. Auto insurance companies in most states provide a multi-year discount to AARP graduates.
  • AARP members also receive discounts on the AARP Motoring Plan from GE Motor Club.
  • Follow these tips, and you could be driving for a long time to come!

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