Your body changes as you age. Your muscles become weaker, you lose bone density and your skin becomes thinner and less elastic. These changes can make you more susceptible to injury, illness, and disease. Your memory can also decline as you age. Your immune system also changes as you age.
But it’s not all downhill!
That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself as you age. You can do this by continuing or starting certain activities and stopping others. These can slow down the aging process and, in some cases, even improve your performance.
People vary based on what medical problems they are dealing with and their biological age. Biological age is different from chronological age and is a better predictor of health. Therefore, some of us should check with our health care provider before some of these
According to doctors, here are 7 things you should continue or start doing if you’re over 60. And 6 things you should stop doing.
For those over 60, regular exercise is vital. It can help improve your muscle strength and flexibility, reduce your risk of falls, maintain your independence and improve your mental health.
You don’t need to join a gym or go on an intense exercise regimen. Just 30 minutes of moderate activity that gets your heart rate up most days of the week will make a big difference
But for bigger gains, HIIT will increase your VO2 max. HIIT is high-intensity interval training, which means you alternate between periods of high-intensity exercise and low-intensity active recovery. VO2 max is the maximum oxygen intake and is a measure of a person’s aerobic fitness. You can stop the normal age-related decline with HIIT. Studies have found that HIIT improves both aerobic capacity and muscle strength in older adults.
So, if you’re over 60, don’t be afraid to push yourself a little harder during your workouts. Just make sure you warm up properly first and listen to your body so you don’t overdo it.
Weight-bearing exercise is perhaps especially important for women, as it can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone density. Some suggested exercises for bone health are walking, running, climbing stairs and lifting weights
As we age, our sleep patterns change. We tend to sleep less deeply and may wake up more during the night. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
But if you don’t get enough sleep, it can be a problem. Lack of sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, increased stress levels and difficulty concentrating. Poor sleep can also contribute to chronic health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. As we age, our sleep patterns change. We tend to sleep lighter and shorter and wake up more during the night. This can be due to changes in our circadian rhythms (our internal body clock) or medical conditions such as arthritis or prostate problems.
To sleep well, doctors recommend following these tips:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Keep your room dark, quiet and cool.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake before bed
A healthy diet is important for those in their 60s as it can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It can also help keep your mind sharp and your memory strong.
Some healthy eating tips include:
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
- Limitation of processed foods, saturated fats and added sugars.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Avoid crash diets or fad diets.
- Consult with a registered dietitian if you have specific dietary needs or goals.
As we age, our bodies may not absorb nutrients from food as well as they used to. But getting important nutrients is still key to healthy aging.
People over 60 should take supplements and these include:
- A daily multivitamin
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
You should talk to your doctor before starting any supplement regimen to make sure it’s right for you and to avoid possible interactions with medications you take.
Use it or lose it! Mental activity is just as important as physical activity when it comes to healthy aging.
Some ways to stay mentally active include:
- Learning new things.
- Doing puzzles and puzzles.
- Play games that require strategy and planning.
- Read, write and use social networks.
- Stay socially active with family and friends.
Some things don’t change with age. Practicing safe sex is one of them.
Safe sex over 60 means using condoms to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies.
As we age, we are more at risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. That is why it is important to have regular health checks. These can help
Some of the recommended screenings for people over 60 include:
- Blood pressure control
- Cholesterol control
- Colorectal cancer detection
- Diabetes detection
- Vision and hearing tests
- Vaccines (such as flu and pneumonia)
- Mammograms and breast self-exams
Here are 6 things you should stop doing if you’re over 60, according to doctors.
It is obvious for any age group: smoking tobacco or anything else, vaping, etc. can cause serious lung problems. Emphysema, COPD and cancer are just three debilitating consequences of smoking.
The J-curve is a well-documented medical fact that shows the correlation between alcohol consumption and health. In other words, a small amount of alcohol can have health benefits, but too much will have negative consequences. Curve J suggests that moderate alcohol may have health benefits, but these health benefits dissipate when alcohol consumption exceeds moderate levels. So while a glass of wine with dinner may help your heart, too much wine will not only negate those benefits, but can also lead to cirrhosis, cancer and other chronic diseases.
Processed foods lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and other chronic health problems. People over 60 should avoid processed foods as much as possible and eat whole, unprocessed foods.
Sugar: Includes sucrose, fructose, honey, corn syrup, and any other added sweeteners
Processed grains: Think white bread, white rice, crackers, etc. These have been stripped of their nutrient-rich bran and germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm.
Processed meats: These are high in sodium and other preservatives that can be hard on the kidneys
Saturated fats: found in animal products and some vegetable oils. Excess saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
Trans fats: Found in margarine, shortening, and some processed foods. They are created when liquid oils turn into solid fats. Trans fats can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease.
Being sedentary leads to all sorts of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. People over 60 should get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. Examples of moderate-intensity activities include walking, swimming, and cycling.
It’s easy to put off self-care. There is so much to do: raising children, working, being a spouse, navigating life’s challenges. So it’s easy to put off mental health care for anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress. But our mental health is just as important as our physical health. If we don’t take care of our mental health, it can lead to physical health problems. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or down, reach out for help. Now that you’re over 60, you may have more time for this type of self-care.
It’s easy to put off taking care of your oral health because of busy lives. But those over 60 should make sure to see the dentist at least once a year for a cleaning and checkup. Poor oral health can lead to gum disease, which is linked to heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases.
For some, spirituality is tied to religion. But for others, it’s simply a connection to something bigger than ourselves. Whatever your beliefs, those over 60 should make time for spirituality in their lives. Spirituality has been linked to better physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. To take care of your spiritual health, consider things like meditation, mediation, prayer, journaling, or time in nature.
So, in a nutshell, there you have it: 7 things to start and 7 things to stop once you’re over 60 to help you age healthily and in some cases even improve your health!