I enjoy paddleboarding, running, and weightlifting as ways of staying in shape and relieving stress. I took up weightlifting after college and continue to work out regularly utilizing free weights and bands, and through push-up and sit-up repetitions. These activities assist in maintaining ideal bone density and muscle conditioning as I get older.
As we edge toward retirement, physical conditioning becomes a major factor in quality of life. A drop-off in muscle and bone mass (bone tissue within a volume of bone) is natural as we age, leading to frailty and heightened possibility of fractures. A variety of aging studies indicate that strength training presents an excellent way of fighting loss of bone density and preventing the onset of osteoporosis.
Research indicates that running and cycling at least 20 miles a week aids in maintaining lower-body bone density and leg muscle tissue. Unfortunately, this accomplishes little for the upper body. Some studies suggest that running 40 to 75 miles per week can even lead to lower bone densities in the shoulders, ribs, and upper spine. An interesting East Tennessee State University study sought to pinpoint the specific benefits of resistance training, when incorporated into aerobics routines. Within the study, one group of 23 healthy people over age 55 engaged in aerobics only, while the other group of 20 worked all major muscle groups through a combination of aerobics and resistance training. The results are startling: after four months, the group that integrated strength training into their routines experienced increased bone density and muscle mass. The group that only undertook aerobic activities saw no improvement.
In understanding aging-related muscle loss issues, it is important to realize that there are two types of muscle fibers in the body. Type II fast-twitch fibers have little endurance, but contract quickly. Type I slow-twitch fibers contract slowly but offer high endurance. From age 25 to 80, fast-twitch muscles decrease by 25 to 30 percent, while slow-twitch muscles remain unchanged. Type I muscles can be increased by as much as 20 percent with high levels of physical activity as we age. This effectively offsets the effects of natural Type II muscle shrinkage, promoting high levels of muscle mass and bone density.
About the Author: Jim Yount is a veteran financial services professional with a degree in Business Administration from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri.
By James Yount
I am a hiking, rock climbing, and off-roading enthusiast, enjoying the desert environments that Southern California offers, including Joshua Tree National Park and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Located approximately 2 hours northeast of San Diego, Anza-Borrego encompasses 600,000 acres and stands as California’s largest state park. It is the second largest state park in the lower 48 states, after Adirondack Park in New York. Anza-Borrego is large enough to contain 12 distinct wilderness areas, 500 miles of dirt roads, and over 100 miles of hiking trails.
I have restored a 1990 Land Rover Defender and enjoy off-roading in the vicinity of Anza-Borrego. While Anza-Borrego Desert State Park itself is closed to off-road vehicles, The adjacent Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area encompasses 80,000 acres of prime desert for off-road exploration. In addition, it borders extensive Bureau of Land Management lands that are also open to off-road use. Whatever the terrain, off-roading is an activity that requires careful preparation. This is particularly true in desert environments that offer minimal facilities and water resources. The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has only a few year-round creeks, all of them located in the Santa Rosa Mountains to the north.
Tires are a critical element in off-roading, and drivers do well to carefully checking tire wear and pressure. Higher tire pressures are generally most suitable for mountain driving, with lower pressures preferable for desert environments, and it is never a bad idea to carry one or two spares along. Particularly in rocky desert environments, it is critical to tighten all nuts and bolts under the hood and beneath the frame before setting out. Also check the condition of the vehicle’s suspension, shock absorbers, exhaust pipe, electrical wiring, and oil and fluid seals. By undertaking regular maintenance after each off-roading adventure, drivers ensure that off-roading remains an enjoyable pursuit, rather than a dangerous one.
About the Author: Jim Yount has nearly two decades of financial experience, regularly assisting other financial advisors in effectively meeting client goals.
by James Yount
Best known for his novel The Tourist, which was a New York Times best seller, American author Olen Steinhauer remains one of the most interesting writers whom I have read. Born in Maryland, Steinhauer was raised in Virginia and subsequently attended college in Pennsylvania and Texas. He later moved to Boston to study for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Emerson College and was awarded a Fulbright grant to live in Romania for a year after graduation. While in Romania, Steinhauer worked on a novel about the country’s 1989 revolution that he later used to secure a literary agent in New York. However, he was unable to find a publisher for the novel. Undaunted, Steinhauer began work on another historical novel, The Bridge of Sighs, which was published in 2003 to great critical acclaim. At the same time, Steinhauer relocated to Budapest, Hungary, where he continues to live and write. The Bridge of Sighs is the first in a five-novel series chronicling the development of a fictional Eastern European country from the 1940s to the 1980s. Steinhauer published the final book in the series, Victory Square, in 2007, which marked the beginning of a new trilogy that revolves around Milo Weaver. The first book in the Weaver trilogy, The Tourist, was published last year. The Tourist follows a secret CIA black ops branch known as the Tourists, focusing on Weaver’s exploits after he is blamed for the murder of his best friend and colleague. Weaver struggles to uncover the true plot behind his friend’s murder to protect his family while also grappling with his own disastrous past. The movie rights to The Tourist were purchased by George Clooney’s production company and the adaptation, which is rumored to feature Clooney as Weaver, is set to hit theaters in the near future. The second book in the Weaver trilogy, The Nearest Exit, was also recently released.
by Jim Yount
My mother was a Catholic grade school teacher who taught me early to pursue my dreams. As I grew up, she constantly reminded me never to give up, which was a lesson I applied again and again throughout my life. With my mother’s guidance, I persevered with everything I did: school, work, athletics, and life in general. My mother did more than talk about this philosophy; she also lived it in every aspect of her life. By watching her, I learned what it meant to be a success. My mother taught me never to accept limitations and not to define myself based on boundaries imposed by others. She encouraged me to learn from my mistakes and to use failure as a springboard for greatness. It was my mother’s example that allowed me to start my financial services career in the early 1990s. I believe that what I do is making a difference in people’s lives by helping them to be financially successful. That’s something else my mother taught me: to make a difference. She set an example through her career as a teacher and in the care she put into making a difference in my life. My mother passed away from cancer and I miss her greatly. Still, her influence is evident in every aspect of my life. I owe one of my current passions to her. In her memory, I took her recipes and began baking her cookies during the holidays. It was like having a little piece of my mother with me. I’ve expanded my repertoire since my early baking efforts. Now I love trying new recipes and watching cooking shows, and I hope to travel to Italy to take cooking classes in the near future. Without my mother’s influence, I wouldn’t be all that I am today. She was my guiding light and I owe who I am to her. I truly believe that she lives on in me.
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