1 Don’t Ignore Quality Sleep
Today, science says that’s not true. In fact, older adults may experience less sleep or lower-quality sleep because of conditions that can be treated, like chronic pain, insomnia or anxiety. Experts including the National Sleep Foundation recommend that adults of every age get seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night to ensure optimum health and reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and dementia.
2 Don’t Forget Your Routine Vaccinations
The COVID pandemic has reminded us that all adults should be up to date on routine vaccinations to keep the immune system strong and lower the risk of serious illness or death. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated against the flu, pneumonia, whooping cough and shingles. The CDC says every adult should get an annual flu vaccine, especially people over 60. The CDC also recommends two pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines for people 65 and older, and two doses of shingles vaccine for people over 50.
3 Drink Only In Moderation
Recent studies have found that 10% of people over age 65 engage in binge drinking, defined as having four or more drinks in one sitting—and 10% to 15% of people don’t start drinking heavily until they’re older in age. Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, physical injury and drug interactions. To stay healthy, drink moderately or abstain. Experts say women should have no more than one alcoholic beverage per day, and men should stop at two.
4 Stay Physically Active
Experts say regular exercise improves muscle quality, prevents bone loss, boosts metabolism, and improves sleep—all major health benefits over 60. Conversely, being sedentary raises your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia. The American Heart Association recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) each week.
5 Don’t Let Yourself Get Lonely
Loneliness seems to cause a stress response in the body, which can have wide-ranging health effects. Research has found that loneliness may increase older adults’ risk of dementia by 50%. A different European study found that men who reported feeling lonely over two decades were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. As you focus on your health after 60, consider socializing as important as exercise.