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10 Health Tips For Over-60s

Written By: William Rivers
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: September 19, 2023
Last updated: December 29, 2023

Welcome to your one-stop guide for embracing health like a champ in your 60s. In this age bracket, you're not just surviving; you're thriving, baby! This isn't your average humdrum health advice column; it's a party invitation to the next phase of your awesome life. We'll dive into the do's and don'ts, the tips and tricks, and even the quirks and quibbles of keeping fit, staying sharp, and living well as you celebrate the joy of being 60 and beyond. Fasten your seat belts—or maybe just adjust your reading glasses—because we're in for a fun ride through the universe of healthy aging!

  1. Prioritize Regular Check-ups

Guess what? Your 60s aren't just for spoiling grandkids and playing bingo; it's also the perfect time to get intimate with your healthcare provider. Regular medical check-ups are the cornerstone of long-term wellness. They give you and your doctors a chance to catch health issues early on, making them easier to treat.

You've earned your age, and with it comes the inevitable wear and tear. Your vehicle goes through routine maintenance, right? Consider these medical visits the "oil changes" and "tire rotations" for your body. Blood tests, screenings for various cancers, heart evaluations—you name it, they'll probably test it. What's a few hours a year when it ensures you're in tip-top shape to win that next bingo tournament?

Of course, not all check-ups are created equal. Your healthcare provider will offer tailored advice based on your medical history and current condition. This means you get a roadmap to your 60s and beyond that's as unique as your fingerprint or your inexplicable love for garden gnomes. Trust me, if you're proactive in this department, your later years will thank you.

  1. Maintain a Balanced Diet

Imagine this: You've got a classic car—let's say a '65 Mustang. You wouldn't dream of filling it with low-grade fuel, would you? Your body, a well-oiled machine, deserves the same level of TLC. Post-60, metabolism slows down, but unfortunately, our love for fried chicken and triple-layer chocolate cake doesn't. I'm not saying you can't indulge; you've earned your guilty pleasures. However, moderation is key, as well as incorporating a well-balanced diet into your daily life.

Remember the food pyramid from elementary school? Well, it's had a makeover or two, but the principle remains. Protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy should all make frequent appearances on your plate. Say hello to lean meats and fish, wave at whole grains as they pass by, and don't ghost fruits and veggies—they’ve missed you.

Supplements can be fantastic additions, especially if you're deficient in things like Vitamin D or calcium. Nonetheless, they shouldn't replace real food. You wouldn't want a hologram of your grandchild at Christmas, right? Real is always better. Get the nutrients you need straight from the source and watch how your energy levels, mood, and overall health improve. The wonders of a balanced diet!

  1. Engage in Moderate Exercise

Exercise in your 60s is less about lifting your body weight and more about sustaining your body's weight in gold. Moderate exercise, think 30 minutes a day, can boost your immune system, improve your mental health, and keep those joints from rusting.

Walking is the unsung hero of the exercise world. It doesn’t demand a new wardrobe or a monthly membership fee; it just asks for your time. Pop in those earbuds, listen to some Sinatra and let those legs lead the way. If walking isn't your jam, consider low-impact activities like swimming or cycling. No, you won't become Michael Phelps, but your heart and lungs will give you a standing ovation. If an elderly's back pain hinders walking, explore low-impact alternatives like swimming or cycling for a heart-healthy standing ovation.

To the skeptics thinking, "Exercise? Me? Nah," let me say this: Your body is like that old, comfy recliner you love. It might creak and groan when you move it, but darn it, it still works like a charm. Exercise is the WD-40 for your recliner of a body. A consistent routine not only improves physical health but also enhances cognitive function. If you need more reasons to exercise, remember it'll help you remember where you put your keys!

  1. Mental Health Matters

Let's switch gears and chat about the upstairs department—your brain. The beauty and complexity of the human mind! It's like a fine wine or George Clooney; it improves with age. However, just as you wouldn't let wine turn to vinegar, your brain needs maintenance to keep it in star condition. It's time to lift mental weights by challenging your noggin with puzzles, reading, or even learning a new skill. Who knows? Maybe knitting is your undiscovered calling!

Laughter is the best medicine, they say. While it won't cure a cold, it can lift your spirits. Happiness is like a muscle; it needs exercise. Spend time with loved ones, watch that comedy that always makes you laugh till you cry, or go to a local event that interests you. Positive emotions contribute to a healthier, longer life.

Let's get serious for a moment. Mental health struggles like anxiety and depression aren't ageist—they can affect anyone. Don't be afraid to seek professional help. Therapists and counselors aren't just for angsty teenagers; they offer valuable coping strategies and can be a listening ear when you need it most. It's never too late to prioritize mental well-being. Your mind will thank you, and heck, it might even remember to send a thank-you card!

  1. Stay Hydrated

Water, H2O—whatever you call it, you need it! In your 60s, your body's water content decreases, but your need for hydration doesn't take a rain check. It's as important as ever! Drinking water can be the wellness equivalent of swiping right on a fantastic dating profile: immediate benefits and long-term relationship potential. A hydrated body helps you maintain your energy levels, ensures smoother digestion, and even boosts your skin's elasticity.

You might argue, "I drink coffee all day, doesn't that count?" While coffee might be your morning BFF, it can't replace water. Caffeine might keep your eyes open during those afternoon lulls, but water is the true hero that prevents dehydration, headaches, and other icky feelings. Aim for the gold standard: eight 8-ounce glasses a day, more if you're active. You've been counting sheep to fall asleep; now count cups to stay sharp!

Fancy gadgets aren't necessary for hydration. Forget the Bluetooth-enabled water bottles that remind you to take a sip. Your body is the original smart device. Listen to it. When you're thirsty, drink. It's that simple. Make it a habit to carry a water bottle wherever you go. Your body, functioning like a well-oiled machine, will be the envy of all your peers, maybe even those a few decades younger!

  1. Limit Sugar and Salt Intake

Too much sugar and salt in your diet can be like inviting party crashers into your well-planned soiree. They might bring a burst of excitement initially, but eventually, they create all sorts of havoc. Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes, while excessive salt may result in high blood pressure. These are the bad boys of the dietary world, and they come with a lot of baggage.

Of course, there's room for a treat now and then. Life without any sugar or salt would be like a movie without any plot twists—boring and predictable. Just remember that moderation is your new wingman, guiding you through the buffet of life. Opt for natural sugars found in fruits and choose snacks that are low in sodium. Your blood vessels will thank you by not staging a rebellion against your heart.

Convenience foods are tempting; I get it. They whisper sweet nothings like "quick" and "easy" into your ear, but here's the tea: They're often loaded with sugar and salt. Cooking at home allows you to control what goes into your meals. Think of yourself as the culinary DJ, remixing beats—or in this case, eats—that keep your body grooving in the healthiest way. 

  1. Monitor Medication

Welcome to the pill-a-palooza, the stage of life where medications often come into play more than ever before! No shame in it; these little tablets can be lifesavers. However, managing medications isn't as simple as popping Tic-Tacs. The dynamics change, especially if you're juggling multiple prescriptions for various conditions. Like a good cocktail, the mix matters—only in this case, you want to avoid a bad combination rather than create a delicious one.

Let's get one thing straight: Your medication is not a DIY project. Consulting your healthcare provider is paramount. Regular check-ins help ensure you're on the right track, and any side effects can be nipped in the bud.

Medication management apps and pill organizers are the unsung heroes here. They can remind you to take your meds, refill prescriptions, and even offer interaction alerts. Don't underestimate the power of tech; it's not just for the youngsters! Forget smart homes; this is about a smart health routine. Give these tools a try, and you'll become a medication maestro in no time.

  1. Foster Social Connections

Good friends are like fine wine or your favorite pair of jeans—they just get better with age. As you venture into your golden years, social connections are more valuable than ever. Friendships aren't just for sharing gossip or dissecting the latest episode of some reality TV show. Nope, they offer emotional sustenance, mental stimulation, and a support network that can keep you upright, literally and figuratively. If you're looking for a community that understands the value of social connections in this stage of life, Banfields Aged Care has you covered.

Believe it or not, staying socially active has been linked to a lower risk of dementia and increased emotional well-being. Whether it's a weekly card game, a book club, or volunteer work, these activities aren't just calendar fillers; they're lifelines. Sure, they're fun, but they also keep your mind sharp and your heart full.

Now, let's talk about family because, let's face it, you can't choose 'em but you can choose to spend quality time with them. Grandkids can be a treasure trove of joy and a natural mood booster. Regular family gatherings—whether in-person or via video calls for those tech-savvy seniors out there—can fortify emotional bonds and create memories for generations to come. 

  1. Take Preventative Measures

The art of prevention is a crafty one, a bit like knitting but with fewer needles—well, except for vaccinations, but that's a different story. Preventative measures such as flu shots, vaccines, and screenings are your health portfolio's insurance policies. Why wait for an issue to become a front-page scandal in the tabloid of your life? Be proactive; get those screenings and immunizations on the calendar before they become headlines.

Consider this your personal red-carpet event but with fewer flashbulbs and more peace of mind. Strut into that doctor's office, roll up your sleeve, and say, "Hit me with your best shot!" Flu shots, pneumonia vaccines, and other immunizations aren't just fashionable; they're smart. They guard you against bugs that find older adults more appealing than fans at a rock concert.

Screenings are your reconnaissance missions. Think of yourself as a health detective, using tools like mammograms, colonoscopies, and skin checks to solve the mystery before it even becomes one. Sure, these appointments may seem as appealing as a root canal, but they are the gatekeepers of your well-being. Solve the case early, and you can enjoy your golden years with far fewer plot twists.

  1. Get Quality Sleep

Sleeping Beauty had the right idea; she just overdid it a bit. A good night's sleep is the holy grail of health, especially as you age. If you're thinking, "Sleep, who needs it?" Let me tell you, your body does. It's during those Zzzs that your cells regenerate, your mind relaxes, and your body repairs itself.  

A common myth is that older adults need less sleep. That's as incorrect as socks with sandals. You still need 7-9 hours of quality rest, even if you're no longer clocking in at nine to five. Sure, you might have the freedom to nap during the day, but that shouldn't replace a solid sleep routine. Naps are the appetizers, not the main course.

You might be thinking, "I can't remember the last time I slept through the night." Welcome to the club; memberships are skyrocketing. If counting sheep isn't cutting it, look into natural sleep aids like melatonin or consult your healthcare provider for advice. Just steer clear of the nightcap; while alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it often disrupts sleep quality. Cheers to a good night's sleep—just make it a herbal tea instead of a whisky!

Remember, the 60s are not about winding down but rather about leveling up. From staying hydrated and active to fostering friendships and managing medications, every tip is a stepping stone on your path to wellness. Your golden years are a treasure trove of potential, and with these guidelines, you're well on your way to striking gold. So here's to you, the VIP of your own life, making the 60s look good and feel even better. Onward and upward, my friends!

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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