Over 60? I'm a Doctor and Say Stop Doing These Things

·8 min read

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 injuries, illnesses, and diseases. 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 get older. You can do this by continuing or starting certain activities and by stopping others. These can slow the aging process down and in some instances even improve your functioning.

People vary according to what medical issues they are dealing and their biological age. Biological age is different from chronological age and is a better predictor of health. So some of us need to check with our healthcare provider before some of these

Here are 7 things you should continue or start doing if you're over 60, according to doctors. And 6 things you should stop doing.

1

Start exercising regularly

middle-aged woman jogging in winter in a close up low angle view against a sunny blue sky in a healthy active lifestyle
middle-aged woman jogging in winter in a close up low angle view against a sunny blue sky in a healthy active lifestyle

For over 60s regular exercise is vital. It can help to improve your muscle strength and flexibility, reduce your risk of falls, maintain your independence, and improve your mental health.

You don't have to join a gym or take up a strenuous exercise regime. Just moderate activity that raises your heart rate for 30 minutes on most days of the week will make a big difference to

But for bigger gains, HIIT will increase your VO2 max. HIIT is High-Intensity Interval Training, this means that you alternate between periods of high-intensity exercise and low-intensity active recovery. VO2 max is the maximal oxygen uptake 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 improved both aerobic capacity and muscle strength in older adults.

So, if you're over 60, don't be afraid to push yourself a little bit harder during your workouts. Just make sure to warm up properly first and listen to your body so you don't overdo it.

Weight-bearing exercise is important maybe especially for women since it can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone density. Some suggested exercises for bone health are walking, running, stair climbing, and lifting weights

2

Get enough sleep

As we age, our sleep patterns change. We tend to have less deep sleep and may wake up more during the night. This is normal and nothing to be worried about.

But if you're not getting 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 have lighter, shorter sleeps 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 get a good night's sleep, doctors recommend following these tips:

  1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

  2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine.

  3. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.

  4. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake before bed

3

Eat a healthy diet

eat fiber foods
eat fiber foods

A healthy diet is important over 60 since it can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also help to keep your mind sharp and your memory strong.

Some tips for eating healthy include:

  1. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

  2. Limiting processed foods, saturated fats, and added sugars.

  3. Drinking plenty of water.

  4. Avoiding Crash diets or fad diets.

  5. Consulting with a Registered Dietitian if you have specific dietary needs or goals.

4

Take supplements as needed

Young Woman Taking Yellow Fish Oil Pill.
Young Woman Taking Yellow Fish Oil Pill.

As we age, our bodies may not absorb nutrients as well from food as they once did. But getting important nutrients remains key to healthy aging.

Over 60s should take supplements and these include: 

  1. A daily multivitamin

  2. Vitamin D

  3. Calcium

  4. Omega-3 fatty acids

  5. Probiotics

You should speak with your doctor before starting any supplement regimen to make sure it's appropriate for you and to avoid potential interactions with medications you're taking.

5

Stay mentally active

Group seniors with dementia builds a tower in the nursing home from colorful building blocks
Group seniors with dementia builds a tower in the nursing home from colorful building blocks

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:

  1. Learning new things.

  2. Doing puzzles and brainteasers.

  3. Playing games that require strategy and planning.

  4. Reading, writing, and using social media.

  5. Staying socially active with family and friends.

6

Practice safe sex

couple in live holding hads while lying in bed together
couple in live holding hads while lying in bed together

Some things don't change with aging. 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.

7

Get regular health screenings

As we age, we become more at risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke. That's why it's important to get regular health screenings. These can help

Some screenings that are recommended for people over 60 include:

  1. Blood pressure check

  2. Cholesterol check

  3. Colorectal cancer screening

  4. Diabetes screening

  5. Vision and hearing tests

  6. Vaccinations (such as influenza and pneumonia)

  7. Mammograms and breast self-exams

8

And what should we stop once we are over 60?

Here are 6 things you should stop doing if you're over 60, according to doctors.

9

Stop smoking

no smoking sign
no smoking sign

Self-evident for any age group: smoking tobacco or anything else, vaping etc can lead to severe lung problems. Emphysema, COPD, and cancer are just three debilitating consequences of smoking.

10

Stop drinking alcohol in excess

woman refusing glass of alcohol
woman refusing glass of alcohol

The J curve is a well-documented medical fact that shows the correlation of alcohol consumption and health. In other words, a small amount of alcohol can have health benefits but too much will lead to negative consequences. The J curve suggests that moderate alcohol can lead to health benefits, however, those health boons dissipate when alcohol consumption creeps up past moderate levels. So while a glass of wine with dinner might help your heart, too much wine will not only cancel out those benefits but can also lead to cirrhosis, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.

11

Stop eating processed foods

woman eating pizza in bed
woman eating pizza in bed

Processed foods lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and other chronic health problems. Over 60s should avoid processed foods as much as possible and eat whole, unprocessed foods instead.

So avoid:

Sugar – this includes sucrose, fructose, honey, corn syrup, and any other added sweetener

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 which can be hard on your kidneys

Saturated fats – are found in animal products and some vegetable oils. Too much saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease.

Trans fats – are found in margarine, shortening, and some processed foods. They're created when liquid oils are turned into solid fats. Trans fats can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower your HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which increases your risk of heart disease.

12

Stop being sedentary

Tired senior hispanic man sleeping on dark blue couch, taking afternoon nap at the living room
Tired senior hispanic man sleeping on dark blue couch, taking afternoon nap at the living room

Being sedentary leads to all sorts of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Over 60s should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. Some examples of moderate-intensity activities include walking, swimming, and biking.

13

Stop ignoring your mental health

Portrait of sad mature woman sitting on couch at home and looking away with worry and anxiety.
Portrait of sad mature woman sitting on couch at home and looking away with worry and anxiety.

It's easy to put off self-care. There's so much to do: raising kids, jobs, being a spouse, navigating life's challenges. So it's easy to put off mental health care for anxiety, depression, truama, 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 you're over 60 you may have more time for this type of self-care.

14

Stop neglecting your oral health

dentist consultation
dentist consultation

It's easy to put off oral health care because of the busy-ness of life. But over 60s should make sure to see the dentist at least once a year for a cleaning and check-up. Poor oral health can lead to gum disease, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, and other chronic illnesses.

15

Stop neglecting your spiritual health

friends group reading and study bible together
friends group reading and study bible together

For some, spirituality is tied to religion. But for others, it's simply a connection to something bigger than ourselves. Whatever your beliefs, over 60s 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, midfulness, prayer, journaling, or time in nature.

So in a nutshell there is it: 7 things to start and 7 things to stop once you are over 60 to help you age in a healthy way and in some cases even improve your health!