‘Anyone can make money.’ This retired Wall Street investor wants to motivate Americans to do something else: Get off the couch

Forget second acts. Jim Owen, who turns 80 on Oct. 20, is capitalizing on his third. His new documentary movie, “The Art of Aging Well,” is the end result of what he describes as his function and his legacy: Inspiring older adults to turn out to be more healthy and extra energetic.

“We’re experiencing a well being care disaster that nobody talks about, and it’s not the second wave of the pandemic: We are a nation of couch potatoes, and it’s actually killing us,” says Owen, who lives in San Diego.

The movie ran on Wyoming PBS, Rocky Mountain PBS and can be accessible to PBS member stations by the National Educational Telecommunications Association beginning Oct. 31.

In a study revealed in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers predicted that just about half of Americans can be overweight by 2030. Owen provides that well being specialists have lengthy identified that being bodily match considerably reduces the risk of significant power diseases similar to Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart illness and most cancers, and most of us have far more management over the getting old course of than we expect.

Owen firmly believes that how we age is essentially up to us: While we can’t assist getting older, we don’t have to get previous.

Driven to succeed

Growing up in Lexington, Ky., Owen performed leisure soccer, basketball and baseball, and lifted weights, too, all in the shadow of his older brother, a star athlete. But after graduating from school, he spent the subsequent 30-plus years doing no train in any respect as he constructed a profitable funding profession on Wall Street, together with publishing the bestselling e book, The Prudent Investor’s Guide to Hedge Funds.

“I acquired fortunate; I used to be blessed and had a really rewarding profession. But anybody can make money; it’s a lot tougher to make a distinction,” says Owen, who reinvented himself in 2003 as a motivational speaker and creator of “Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn From the Code of the West.”

“I don’t put on a cowboy hat and I’m form of afraid of horses,” he admits. “But to me, the legendary cowboy was a assemble: Every tradition wants heroes, and after I grew up, cowboys like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry had been mine.”

Owen’s recommendation about enterprise and life sparked a motion, main to two subsequent “Cowboy Ethics” enterprise books, the launch of the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership nonprofit and a whole lot of talking engagements a yr. It was whereas he crisscrossed the nation on a whirlwind talking tour in 2006 that Owen realized how weak, stiff, achy and drained he felt all the time.

The tipping level got here when Owen watched a video of himself on his 70th birthday, trying haggard and pale. He had learn that for those who stay to age 70, you’d possible stay one other 15 years. With no want to spend these years in ache with no power, he vowed to get in form.

His physique at 75: 10 years youthful than his age

Applying the similar dedication that labored throughout his Wall Street days, Owen slowly took management of his well being, starting with day by day 10-minute walks. Working with knowledgeable coach, he added on strength-building workouts and commenced consuming more healthy.

Related: Does your community have what it takes to help you live longer?

Many older adults fear they’ll get harm by beginning an train plan, and Owen found there are not any shortcuts. He had briefly taken up working at 50 and injured each knees. After switching to weightlifting, he bench-pressed an excessive amount of weight and was left with searing decrease again ache that saved him up at evening.

“The older you’re, the extra security has to be the primary precedence, and meaning listening to your physique,” says Owen, noting there’s a high-quality line between getting out of your consolation zone, progressing and going overboard.

“Don’t get overly bold, significantly for those who’re older. Just chip away at it, and all the sudden you’ll look again and say, ‘I can’t consider how far I’ve come,’” he says


Owen’s persistence was validated when, at 75, his main care doctor pronounced him in glorious form for a 65-year-old. His physique was now a decade youthful than his precise age.

“Exercise has enlarged my view of the world. Getting match is extremely empowering: If somebody says, ‘You’ll by no means do this’, I say, ‘Watch me.’ I’m not that coordinated, so if I can do it, anyone can do it,” Owen says.

Getting snug with being uncomfortable

Most individuals suppose that the onerous work and subsequent payoff from common train is bodily. But for Owen, the psychological facet has been the most daunting and the most rewarding.

“I’d guess that 80% of people that go to the health club are going as a result of any person — their physician or their partner — instructed them to. That’s not motivational, so that you do it in a halfhearted method,” he explains. “My motivation was eliminating aches and pains, however the life-transforming factor got here after 5 years, after I modified my mind-set from understanding to coaching. That’s actually once you make large strides. Exercise has actually boosted my confidence.”

In addition to three power exercises per week, Owen walks, stretches and does yoga, Pilates and motion courses, usually alongside his spouse Stanya. He is pain-free, and weighs lower than he did in highschool.

See: Whole Foods founder says ‘we’re getting fat’ — making the coronavirus worse

“I work on my weaknesses, not my strengths. Most individuals solely work on their strengths; you see guys doing bicep curls or tricep extensions. You don’t want to do that stuff. Try doing push-ups. I hate push-ups, however that’s why you must do them. When I began, it took nearly per week earlier than I might do one. Today, I can do 50; I’m in the finest form of my life.”

A motion takes form

Breaking a sweat impressed Owen to increase consciousness about the energy of being bodily energetic.

His 2017 e book “Just Move! A New Approach to Fitness After 50″ — named one of the year’s best books on healthy aging by The Wall Street Journal — chronicled his new-found ardour for wholesome residing and offered a step-by-step program that could possibly be tailored to any stage of means.

“I do know it sounds corny, however I try to turn out to be a job mannequin,” Owen says. “Not per week goes by the place I don’t get emails or cellphone calls from individuals who say, ‘Mr. Owen, you’ve modified my life,’ or ‘You modified my father or mom’s life.’ It’s fascinating to me, as a result of there’s no lack of know-how on the market, however that’s not the reply. Both my e book and the documentary are a name to motion.”

A wellness technique

Produced by Owen and directed by Jim Havey, “The Art of Aging Well” emphasizes that it’s by no means too late or too tough to turn out to be more healthy. Over the previous two years, Owen’s crew gathered highly effective success tales of people who overcame obstacles to discover well being by train later in life.

The 30-minute movie additionally options sensible ideas and views from main wellness specialists throughout the nation who consider prevention ought to be our main well being care technique.

“Everybody we talked to needed to be a part of this to share their expertise, and I would like these tales to change the world,” says Owen, who plans to produce extra movies about wholesome getting old. “This is just not a enterprise for me; I wouldn’t work this tough for money. It’s simply actually enjoyable.”

The pandemic has introduced a way of urgency to Owen’s work, and he hopes that residing in the COVID-19-era has been a wake-up name to many older adults as they understand they can scale back the dangers to their well being.

He’s satisfied that staying energetic and having a constructive, youthful perspective builds up resilience to face any well being disaster, ought to it current itself.

“I would like to be lean, and it’s not vainness,” Owen says. “If I do get hit with COVID-19, a stroke or a coronary heart assault, I consider I’ve carried out the whole lot I can do to climate it.”

Owen continues to tackle large challenges, and says wholesome residing has given him a way of function that motivates him day by day.

“Many individuals my age form of hand over on life; I don’t,” he says. “I used to suppose that life inevitably goes downhill when you hit 70 or 75. Now, I really feel my finest days should still lie forward.”

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