Your 60s can be a great decade filled with many active and productive years, but making the right lifestyle choices is key to staying healthy. As you get older, facing health concerns is a reality, but practicing positive changes can help maintain good health mentally and physically. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who revealed their tips for staying in shape after 60 and explained what bad behaviors can lead to poor health. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Dr. Taylor Graber, an MD Anesthesiologist and owner of ASAP IVs says, “As we get older, our levels of energy decrease, including metabolic precursors to energy production (ATP) like NAD+. As these energy levels decrease, there can be a natural tendency to decrease levels of physical activity and live a more sedentary lifestyle. These can include exercising and being outside less. It is important to fight these urges as we get older and continue activities. These have several benefits including social interaction, physical fitness and improving cardiovascular health, and even decreasing age related declines in bone density and strength. This simple fact, of continuing to go for walks, low intensity weightlifting, golfing, tennis, and others, can improve Vitamin D exposure and help to preserve overall health. Stay active! Aim for 30-60 minutes of activity per day.”
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Dr. Seema Bonney, the founder and medical director of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia says, “It’s important to manage weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and to engage in appropriate preventative screenings.”
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“Maintaining a nutrient rich diet is critical as we age,” says Dr. Bonney. “Food is medicine and thus properly fueling our bodies will provide energy, boost immunity, enrich bone, eye, and vascular health, reduce inflammation, help prevent chronic health conditions, and support weight management. It is never too late to make changes to your diet. Conversely, a diet high in sugars, unhealthy fats, processed and packaged foods contributes to poor health and can be a huge factor in the onset of chronic disease, cognitive decline, and inflammation.”
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According to Dr. Bonney, “A sedentary lifestyle accelerates aging, age-related diseases and may diminish life expectancy. Exercise has been proven to help prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise boosts immunity, improves mood and more. Even light exercise such as walking, can be a powerful and preventative tool for disease management. There is a correlation between exercise and cognitive health. Regular moderate-intensity exercise can help improve your thinking and memory. It stimulates physiological changes such as reductions in insulin resistance and inflammation. Exercise also encourages production of growth factors, which affect the growth of new blood cells in the brain. Exercise can improve mood and sleep and thereby decrease stress and anxiety. We encourage our patients to get curious about their daily movement, track their steps, experiment with new types of exercise, and make it fun. This is a critical part of their longevity plan.”
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Dr. Bonney explains, “Social isolation can create a serious risk for future cognitive decline and emotional distress. In one study it was reported that 1/3 of adults over age 45 feel lonely and ¼ of adults over age 65 are socially isolated. This isolation may stem from living alone, loss of family/friends, loss of connection through retirement, chronic illness and more. The health risks associated with less social connection: less physical activity, increased risk of dementia, greater risk of heart disease, emotional distress such as depression and anxiety. Generally, people with healthy and supportive relationships live longer. People are generally happier, engaged and mentally sharper through meaningful interactions with others. We are social beings. Connection with family, friends, group, volunteer work, neighbors, church etc. We as physicians need to be sure to address social isolation as it can have a detrimental effect on overall health and wellbeing and certainly be a factor in disease and aging.”
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Dr. Bonney says, “Everyone ages differently and lifestyle plays a major role in the changes that one may experience. Many people will notice physical changes such as; skin fragility, achy joints – particularly if inactive, slower metabolism, changes to your vision/hearing, and sex-related hormones decline, but sex can be better than ever with less distractions and more time. Emotionally people in their 60’s tend to be happier, they are more resilient to stress, being more experienced. With age comes an improved ability to regulate emotions. The growth of new brain cells continues well into your 60’s, however memory can start to fade. You can continue to improve brain health by getting regular mental stimulation, social interaction, and physical activity.”
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“Your 60’s are a big decade, many times involving transition from work to retirement, giving you more time to focus on you, your health, your family, your passions and travel,” says Dr. Bonney. “Optimizing your health and creating a longevity plan prior to your 60’s will serve as a foundation for a decade of experiences and freedom. Nutrition, social connection, physical activity, preventative medicine, sleep and stress management will pave the way for your 60’s and beyond.” And to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.