Why is it that, for some people, getting old is a headlong slide into disability and social isolation, while others are still vibrant and active into their eighties and beyond?
Jim Owen learned first-hand that healthy living is a big part of aging well. A pain-wracked “certified couch potato” at 70, he got into exercise, cleaned up his diet, and worked on lowering stress. By age 75, he was physically transformed and pain-free, with the medical profile of someone 20 years younger.
That’s when Jim became a man on a mission. He wanted others to know that they, too, have the power to slow down and even reverse the aging process.
Married for 54 years, Jim and Stanya Owen say working out together is fun—and has brought them even closer.
So he wrote a book, Just Move!, and took his “can do” message to audiences and media outlets around the country. The book was published by National Geographic in 2017 and named one of the year’s five best books on healthy aging by the Wall Street Journal.
Making a documentary film was a natural next step. “We all know we need to exercise and eat right. So why don’t more of us do it?” Jim asks. “What’s needed isn’t more information, but more inspiration—and that’s what the film medium is uniquely able to provide.”
His first film, The Art of Aging Well, was released in 2020 and aired on PBS stations nationwide. The 30-minute film can be streamed here.
As Jim turned 75, he found fresh inspiration in what he calls the “SuperAgers” around him—people who are over 75 or 80 and still living life to the fullest.
What keeps them going, he realized, has as much to do with humor, positivity and heart as with physical well-being.
That epiphany sparked his latest film project, The Art of Becoming a SuperAger. It’s a celebration of people who have found deep satisfaction and joy in old age despite the losses and health issues we all encounter sooner or later.
While acknowledging the role a healthy lifestyle can play, the documentary is most powerful when it looks beyond physical health to explore the mental, emotional, and even spiritual realms of old age—“the recipe for a life well-lived.”
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