As you reach 60, it’s natural to look at your life and ask yourself if there are any changes you need to make. After all, this is a milestone age, and it’s time to start thinking about the next steps along your journey. While making changes can be daunting, there are some important ones you’ll want to consider. From addressing fatigue symptoms to the importance of physical activity, here are some lifestyle changes at 60 you’ll want to start thinking about if you haven’t already.
1) Address Health Concerns
It’s a fact of life and only natural that our bodies will change as we get older. We don’t heal as quickly, our immune systems weaken, and we become more susceptible to chronic illnesses. That’s why we need to be proactive about taking care of our health as we age. Many of us don’t take our health concerns seriously until we’re experiencing significant problems.
Common health concerns that need to be addressed as we age include:
- Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis – Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the joints, while osteoporosis weakens the bones. These conditions become more common as we age and can lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. Treatment typically includes a combination of medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. Women over 65 are especially prone to developing osteoporosis. If you’re in this category, the National Institute on Aging recommends you be tested regularly to see if you are at risk.
- Heart Disease – Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it becomes more common as we age. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
- Cancer – Cancer is another leading cause of death in the United States. While the risk of developing cancer increases with age, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk. These include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular screenings.
- Respiratory Diseases – Respiratory diseases, such as COPD and emphysema, become more common as we age. These diseases make it difficult to breathe and lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. Addressing them typically includes medication and lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking.
- Vision and Hearing Loss – Sometimes, when we get older, some parts just don’t work as well as they used to. This includes our sight and hearing. While there’s no way to prevent age-related vision and hearing loss, it’s essential to get regular screenings so that problems can be caught early.
- Balance Issues – As we age, we may experience balance problems. This increases our risk of falls, which can lead to severe injuries. To help reduce your risk of falls, make sure to exercise regularly and have your vision checked. You should also talk to your doctor about any medications you’re taking that could cause dizziness or light-headedness.
- Type 2 Diabetes – Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects how the body metabolizes sugar. It becomes more common as we age, particularly if we’re overweight or have a family history of the condition. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Hormone Imbalances – Hormone imbalances are common as we age. They can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, and sleep problems. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to look into hormone testing at home. This allows you to quickly and affordably check your hormone levels from the comfort of your own home. Then you can work with a holistic caregiver to develop a plan to address any imbalances through a regimen of personalized supplements and recommended lifestyle changes.
- Oral Health Issues – Oral health problems, such as gum disease and tooth loss, become more common with age. These concerns can lead to pain, difficulty eating, and other issues. Taking care of your teeth and gums is important for maintaining your oral health. This includes brushing and flossing regularly and getting regular dental checkups.
- Cognitive Decline – As we age, we may experience cognitive decline. This can lead to problems with memory, decision-making, and other executive functions. While there’s no way to prevent cognitive decline, there are things you can do to help slow it down. This includes staying mentally active, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.
- Chronic Fatigue – Chronic fatigue is a condition that causes fatigue and other symptoms that aren’t relieved by rest. It can be caused by many things, including sleep disorders, hormonal imbalances, and underlying medical conditions. Chronic fatigue treatment typically involves addressing the underlying cause.
2) Keep Moving
The truth is that many of us tend to slow down a lot as we age. Whether it’s because we don’t have the energy or we just don’t think we need to anymore, being inactive can lead to a host of problems beyond gaining a few pounds.
Not only does staying active help keep your body in better shape, but it can also improve your mental health, help you sleep better, and even reduce your risk of developing dementia.
Exercise is vital at any age, but it becomes even more crucial as we get older. Regular exercise can help prevent many of the health problems that become more common with age, including heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, and falls. In addition, exercise can help improve your mood, cognitive function, and overall quality of life.
So, how much exercise do you need to stay active? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week paired with two days of strength training. However, even if you can’t meet this goal, any amount of exercise is better than none.
This can be done in various ways and should be something you enjoy doing. You can also combine exercise with social activities to make it more enjoyable. Here are some of our top tips on how to stay active in your 60s and beyond:
- Walk, Jog, or Run – Depending on your joint health, you can start with walking and then eventually work up to running or jogging. You can do this on a treadmill, around your neighborhood, or even on a hiking trail. Some folks enjoy doing it solo while listening to music, an audiobook or a podcast. In contrast, others will head out in pairs or small groups to catch up and stay motivated.
- Swim – Swimming is an excellent option for those with joint issues because it’s a low-impact activity. It’s also a great way to cool off in the summer heat. You can join a pool club, swim laps at your local community center, or even swim in the ocean if you’re lucky enough to live near one.
- Join an Exercise Class – If you’re looking for a more structured approach to staying active, there are plenty of exercise classes you can join. These can be anything from aerobics and spin classes to yoga or Tai Chi. You can usually find these classes at your local gym, community center, or online. They’re also a great way to connect with and meet new people.
- Work with a Trainer – For many of us throughout our lives, working out and staying active was never a priority. Of course, it’s never too late to start, but sometimes we’re left asking ourselves just where to begin. Working with a personal trainer who specializes in clients who are 60 years or older can help get you started on the right foot. They can assess your fitness level and health concerns and design a workout program that’s tailored just for you.
3) Celebrate Your Body
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of love or body positivity out there for seniors. In fact, many people believe that once you reach a certain age, your body is no longer something to be celebrated. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your body is your temple, no matter how old you are. It’s the one thing that you have to live in for the rest of your life, so you might as well love it and take care of it. This doesn’t mean that you have to have the perfect body or look like you’re 20 years old. It simply means that you should appreciate your body for what it is and do your best to take care of it.
One way to do this is to focus on healthy eating. This doesn’t mean you have to diet or give up all of your favorite foods. Instead, it means ensuring that you’re getting the nutrients your body needs to function at its best. This includes plenty of fresh fruits, colorful vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. And, yes, from time to time, some treats, too.
You should also focus on staying hydrated. Drinking enough water is the backbone of overall good health regardless of age. Still, it’s even more important as we get older. This is because water is a significant portion of our bodies and, as we age, we tend to lose more than we take in due to bad habits. This can cause dehydration and lead to many health problems.
Ensure you’re drinking enough water by carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day and drinking small sips regularly. Another tip for better hydration is making sure you’re eating foods high in water content. Remember those fruits and vegetables we just mentioned? This is yet another reason to eat plenty of those.
The other side of this is to practice acceptance regarding natural changes that occur as we age. Some things you can expect are:
- Thinning, Graying Hair – Some of us go gray, some go white, some have it thin out, and some lose it all. Whatever changes occur, know that it’s perfectly normal, and you don’t have to fight them. You can, of course, color your hair if you want to, but there’s no shame in rocking your natural look.
- Wrinkles and Fine Lines – Wrinkles are simply a part of life. They’re caused by a combination of things, including sun damage, smoking, dehydration, and genetics. While you can’t completely prevent them, you can help minimize their appearance by staying out of the sun, staying hydrated, and using a good sunscreen or anti-aging cream.
- Changes in Sexuality – It’s perfectly normal for your sex drive to change as you age. This can be due to several things, including hormonal changes, medications, and lifestyle choices. If you’re experiencing a decrease in libido, talk to your doctor. There are often treatments that can help.
4) Dedicate Time to Things You Love
Time is the most precious commodity we have. We often take it for granted when we’re younger and waste it on things that don’t matter. As we get older, we realize just how valuable it is.
This is why it’s so important to dedicate our time to the things we love. This might include hobbies, activities, people, or causes that are important to us. Whatever it is, make sure you’re spending your time in a way that brings you joy.
One way to do this is to pick up a new hobby. This can be something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Or it could be something completely new that you’ve always been curious about. Now is the perfect time to explore and find something that you’re passionate about.
Another way to spend your time in a meaningful way is to volunteer. Countless organizations could use your help, whether it’s working with children, the elderly, animals, or the environment. Find something that resonates with you and give back in a way that feels good.
Last, you might want to be more social and simply spend quality time with family and friends, new and old. With more time available to you, thanks to retirement or reduced working schedules, you can now focus on the relationships that matter most.
Meaningful and Lasting Change
These lifestyle changes are important to consider as you approach your 60s. By focusing on your physical and mental health, you can set yourself up for happy and healthy golden years. And, by spending your time wisely, you can make the most of this new chapter in your life. Just remember that the most meaningful and lasting change comes from within. So be sure to take some time for reflection and self-discovery as you move into this new stage of life.
What lifestyle changes have you made as you’ve gotten older? Share your experiences in the comments below.