Your 60s are an exciting time full of milestones like retirement, spending more time with friends and family and focusing on yourself. This decade can be filled with happy healthy years if you’re taking care of yourself. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Pouya Shafipour, a board-certified physician with Paloma Health who revealed what changes people can expect in their 60s and what unhealthy habits people should stop doing immediately. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
What Physical and Mental Changes Can Someone Expect in Their 60s?
Dr. Shafipour explains, “When we think about age-related changes, we often focus on things that may seem more negative or uncomfortable. But before diving into physical and mental changes that occur from 60 on, people should know that studies suggest that your 60s are generally a very happy decade. Indeed, if you are active, relatively healthy, and are proactive in your community or workplace, your 60s can be great. Your 60s can also be a time when you notice many age-related changes in your body. One of the biggest things people notice is sensory changes, such as changes in vision and hearing. Skin changes also become more apparent in both sexes. Dark spots and wrinkles become more commonplace, but you may also notice your sweat glands become less active. Additionally, bruises may stick around for longer and wounds may take more time to heal. Bladder changes may also become more apparent. In women, it is not uncommon to experience some bladder leakage from stress incontinence. For example, coughing, sneezing, and jumping may cause some urine to leak. While this is common, it is not something you necessarily have to live with and there are ways to improve this problem. Likewise, men also have bladder changes. For example, they may need to urinate more often or may start to experience more difficulty with urination due to changes in their prostate. Both men and women should be open with their doctor or a urologist to help keep their bladders strong and functional.”
Not Keeping Your Mind Engaged
Not Drinking Enough Water or Eating Enough Fiber
“As we get older, our urge to drink water decreases,” says Dr. Shafipour. “As a consequence, many adults in their 60s and beyond do not drink enough water every day. Poor hydration can lead to a number of problems like dryer skin and mucous membranes. One of the more frustrating complications of poor hydration is constipation, which can become more common as we age. We need plenty of water in our stool to help it pass smoothly, so when we do not have enough, stools can become harder and bowel movements can become infrequent. We also need to make sure we get at least 20-30 grams of fiber in our diet. Green leafy vegetables, complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, wild rice, legumes, as well as seeds such as flaxseed, Chia seed, psyllium husk, etc. are great sources I need to be consumed with a lot of water.”
Not Using Sunscreen
“Skin cancer is most common in older adults,” Dr. Shafipour reminds us.
“Often, it is an accumulation of sun damage over the years that eventually can lead to dangerous skin cells. But, it is important to note that sun damage can be even especially damaging on older skin. Per the CDC, many older adults don’t bother to use sunscreen, which may also contribute to the rise in skin cancer with age. Not to mention, sun damage increases your risk for wrinkles and dark spots.Getting plenty of sunshine and outdoor time is important for your mental and physical health. Be sure to apply sunscreen whenever you anticipate being outdoors for more than 20 minutes.”
Not Getting Enough Physical Exercise
Dr. Shafipour states, “Everyone needs regular physical exercise, no matter their age. However, once we reach our 60s and beyond, we often think what’s the point? I know I won’t look like I did in my 20s so why bother. Well, firstly, you shouldn’t look like you did in your 20s because – you’re not! One of the biggest benefits of regular physical exercise is to keep your bones and joints healthy. After age 60, the risk for bone problems like osteoporosis and fractures increases in both men and women. Similarly, stiff joints become more commonplace. With regular weight-bearing activity, you can keep your bones healthy and strong and your joints more mobile and flexible. Of course, regular exercise is more than bone-deep. It also helps elevate your mood, keeps your mind sharp, improves circulation, helps you stay at a healthy weight, decreases your risk for metabolic problems like type 2 diabetes, and keeps your bowels from becoming sluggish. Gait and balance also gets impacted with aging. Exercises such as yoga, Pilates, and tai chi will help make the joints smooth, improve with balance and gait and posture and great for mental health and a strong core.” 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.