I think that most everyone looks forward to the day when the alarm clock can be turned off and we greet each day with a sense of adventure and freedom. There are some obstacles to realizing those dreams. Two of them can be avoided with planning and perseverance. The first is working at staying healthy longer. The “Health Matters” column in the April 9, 2012 Wall Street Journal gives some insight on the importance of successful aging. Keys include staying fit and maintaining a healthy weight. Experts say that middle age is a critical time for preventing the functional declines that creep up with advancing years. A geriatric medicine expert quoted in the article found that in a study of adults age 50 and older, those aged 50-59 who suffered pain from conditions like arthritis and functional limitations like climbing stairs or walking several blocks were similar to individuals 20-30 years older. The expert noted that it is important not only to address pain issues associated with exercise, but to adjust exercise routines so that they do not exacerbate physical problems that may lead to a termination of exercise. According to federal health data, active midlife individuals have a 30% lower risk of developing moderate to severe functional limitations compared to those who are not active. To help find answers to causation of age-related changes to functional limitations, John Hopkins University is teaming with the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, asking more than 9,000 men and women over the age of 65 to participate in the National Health and Aging Trends study. Other federal studies have found a link between obesity and rising levels of disability. Obesity and the loss of muscle mass that come with aging can make it harder to stay strong. Moderate activity, to include walking, aquatics and tai chi programs can make a big difference. I think this all is telling us to stop looking for excuses to not exercise and to find some level of activity that we will commit to that provides at least the minimum aerobic results for better health. It would be a shame to work 30-40 years only to find yourself unable to enjoy a reasonable quality of life. So get off that couch and close the refrigerator. See the world outside your house, using your two good feet at least three times a week.
Let’s say that you have taken my advice and are taking that walk around your block and happen to stumble into the path on an oncoming vehicle. The driver swerves to miss you and hits another car. All of a sudden you may have a tort issue. Hopefully, you have done your homework and own a personal excess liability policy that will cover damages from the lawsuit that most probably will be forthcoming. The science of personal excess liability coverage has evolved over the years so that it should be a required coverage if you have substantial assets to protect. Coverage can be designed to protect against internet-related incidents, suits by domestic employees for termination or discrimination or injury, suits against non-profit boards of directors and injuries or damages caused by uninsured or underinsured parties. Properly structured, these policies can cover accidents involving adult children using your property, under the heading of “permissive use” claims. The good news is that this type coverage is very inexpensive compared to most of your other insurance. If you do not have a personal excess liability policy, you are putting your retirement at risk. Even a young wage earner should consider adding this to his insurance portfolio.
These words from a daily meditation guide seem appropriate to the above discussion: “Do you know the feeling of hearing your doctor say that you are diabetic or that you may need stronger blood pressure medication because you have let your weight creep steadily up? We all pretend that tomorrow is the best day for a new diet. Time is a precious gift. Even though God promises us eternal life through the love of Christ, our time here and now is fragile and measured. Our yesterdays are memories and today is our reality. Now is the moment we have. Each one of us has an important way to use today, while we can. From James 4:14: What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Before it “vanishes”, remember the words of Psalm 9: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exalt in you; I will sing praises to your name.”
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