How to Boost Your Longevity in Your 60s

Your 60s are a big decade. You may be planning to put your work life behind you and retire. You may have more time to spend on yourself. While all of the change can be exciting and scary, there is no better time to start working on a new you than in this phase of your life.

This new you can be even more focused on being healthy and feeling great. Make your retirement not about resting but about reaching your maximum health and working toward a long life of health and happiness. Here are 10 things that can get you started.

1

It's Not Too Late for Healthy Living

older couple jogging
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Don't think that just because you are in your 60s, all your cards have been dealt when it comes to health. Even the changes you make now can significantly improve your health and, in some cases, reverse some of the damage that might have been done in your younger years.

Healthy steps like getting your weight under control, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, exercising at least two and a half hours a week, and not smoking can improve your health and longevity at any age.

2

Keep Up Your Sex Life

Sex is an important aspect of overall health and well-being throughout your life, including in your 60s and beyond. In fact, a sexually active lifestyle has been associated with a decrease in certain medical conditions.

For example, regular sex is essential to vaginal health after menopause, according to the North American Menopause Society, because it "stimulates blood flow, helps keep your vaginal muscles toned, and maintains your vagina’s length and stretchiness."

In addition, a 2010 study in the The American Journal of Cardiology found that those who had sex two or fewer times per week were at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

In another study, both older males and older females who had sex regularly with a partner reported feeling happier and more satisfied with life in general than those who did not.

The same study found among couples who did not regularly have sex, it often was associated with specific issues: for men, sexual function and for women, desire. Given there are ways to deal with both problems, it may be worth you and/or your partner addressing them for the sake of your overall sense of wellness.

3

Make Time to Take Care of Your Brain

The brain likes problems. It thrives when it has something to puzzle over or figure out and it's healthiest when challenged to learn new things. In fact, while brain health experts once believed the brain stops making new neuron connections as a person ages, it turns out this isn't the case at all. Your brain remains nimble and capable of physical change and growth throughout life.

Research has, in fact, shown, that people who take up new hobbies or make strides to move out of their mental comfort zone stay both mentally and physically younger than their years

Try not to get stuck in a physical or mental rut. Switch up your daily routine and workout once in a while and keep your brain engaged by learning new skills: Take up a musical instrument or hobby, audit a class at your local university, or volunteer in your community, for example.

4

Take Care of Your Body

Don't let your body retire when you do. Most people tend to enjoy more discretionary time at this point in life—time that can be spent investing in a healthy lifestyle full of eating well, exercising, and more.

Don't be deterred by thinking it's too late to lose weight or start exercising. Although your metabolism slows down as you get older, it doesn't mean you can't get to or maintain a healthy weight.

Nor does it mean you can't benefit from physical activity. For example, there's plenty of evidence that people can continue to build muscle mass no matter their age.

For example, a meta-analysis of 39 studies looking at aging and resistance exercise (lifting weights or using exercise bands, for example), revealed that in more than 1,300 adults over the age of 50 who did some form of this kind of training, muscle mass increased by an average of nearly 2.5 pounds in just five months.

5

Stay Positive

How you feel about getting older can have a significant impact on how you experience life and even on how long you live, research shows. In one study of more than 70,000 people, an optimistic outlook was directly linked to an 11% to 15% increase in longevity and greater odds of living to at least 85—what the researchers termed "exceptional longevity."

Having a positive attitude affects how your body deals with stress and how it impacts your behavior, so if your feel depressed or nervous about the idea of aging, spend some time thinking about the positive aspects of this stage of life, such as having more time for your own spiritual growth.

6

Take Control of Your Medical Care

Not understanding your overall health status, medication, or treatment can shorten your life.

Research has found that people who have low health literacy—defined in one study as "the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make basic health decisions"—have a higher mortality rate than those who are better informed about these matters.

Increase your chances of having a good outcome and maintaining good health by asking questions and taking the time to research your medical conditions until you fully understand them. It could save your life.

7

Keep Getting Tested

By now you should be used to preventative care and screenings. Make sure you keep these up on the schedule recommended by your healthcare providers. It might start to seem like a lot of exams and tests, but they can help detect illness early when it can be treated with the highest rate of success.

How often you need to have certain screenings can change with age and based on previous results, so make sure you are clear about when to schedule your appointments. If you're not sure, ask.

8

Learn About Hormones and Aging

Your hormones continue to change throughout your life, including as you age. Some people believe that these changes in hormones are what causes aging. It's more complicated than that.

Before you look into hormone therapies, take some time to learn the facts about hormones and aging and be sure to talk to a healthcare provider (who isn't selling anything) about if and how hormone supplements might be able to help you.

9

Use Your Time Productively

Retirement is all about time and having time to do what you want. If you have plenty of activities to fill your day up, you'll never be bored. But if not, it can be easy to fall into the habit of spending your day doing sedentary things like watching TV.

In fact, the average retired person watches more than four hours of TV a day. That is the time that could be better spent doing things that are healthy for the brain and body—exercising, socializing, volunteering, cooking healthy foods, and doing other things that you love.

Make a conscious effort to limit activities that don't engage your body, mind, and soul. For example, set up a daily walking "appointment" with a friend.

10

Maintain Your Social Life

Many plan financially for retirement, but they don't plan for the social aspect of this phase of life. If you are going from an active working environment where you interact with others throughout the day to being home, the shift in socialization can be quite stark.

Make a plan for getting out and being with people on a regular basis. For example, consider joining a hobby group or a local sports club.

Interacting with people helps you manage emotions, stress, and helps you maintain good habits. Studies show spending lots of time with family and friends may even help you live longer.

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13 Sources
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