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Health Habits You Should Stop Doing After 60, According to Science

These five essential pieces of advice can keep you living longer.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

What a difference a day makes—one night, you're a spry 59, and then next, you're in your sixties. What's the big difference? Well, your body changes as it gets older—this you know by now—and your sixties are a particularly crucial decade. So read on to discover the 5 health habits you should stop doing after 60, according to science. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


Use Caution Before Popping This Common Painkiller

taking medicine

As a young person, maybe you popped an NSAID (like an aspirin, Advil or Motrin) to cure a hangover, or after a hard day's work. As you get older, you want to limit the use of this particular drug, or at least discuss them with your doctor. "NSAIDs are one of the most common causes of adverse drug reactions," says one study. "As patient age, and the number of medications increase, NSAIDs in the elderly should be prescribed with caution. NSAIDs concomitantly used with specific medication can alter the risk of gastrointestinal ulceration and/or bleeding."


Stop Thinking of Alzheimer's as Hypothetical—and Watch for Symptoms

senior woman with adult daughter at home.

Now is the age where you've got to, well, not worry about Alzheimer's, but watch for signs of it. "Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that affects nearly 6 million Americans. It is the fifth leading cause of death for those aged 65 or older," says the CDC. "Alzheimer's disease and other dementias slowly destroy the brain, leading to cognitive declines (such as memory loss, language difficulty, or poor executive function) and functional declines (such as less ability to do activities of daily living and self-care). In some cases, dementia can lead to behavioral and personality changes (such as depression, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, or agitation). People with cognitive impairment find it hard to maintain their health or manage other chronic conditions." So stay alert to the issue, and listen if others express concern: "Early detection of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer's and other dementias, provides an opportunity to manage other chronic health conditions and plan for the future."

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Don't Think Joint Pain is Normal. It Might be Arthritis.

Senior woman suffering from pain in hand at home.

"Arthritis is very common but not well understood. Actually, "arthritis" is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease," says the Arthritis Foundation, who would know. "Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go, and can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years and then may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen by X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect other body parts, like the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin."

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Exercise—But in This Specific Way, to Stay Fit

Senior man in sports clothing in gym working out with weights

The CDC says "if you're 65 years of age or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions, you can follow" the following plan: Do a moderate-intensity aerobic activity—anything that gets your heart beating faster counts—for at least 150 minutes a week. And do a muscle strengthening activity—activities that make your muscles work harder than usual—at least two days a week. If you do have a health condition, then discuss the proper exercise regime with your doctor. It's always important to move your body if you can.

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Eat This Way

eating a salad with quinoa
Shutterstock / New Africa

"At most meals try to fill half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter of your plate with whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or whole-wheat bread, and the final quarter of your plate with lean protein such as fish, poultry, beans, or eggs," says Harvard Health. "Pick healthy fats, which can serve as a source of concentrated, healthy calories. Healthy fats include olive oil, canola oil, peanuts and other nuts, peanut butter, avocado, and fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Limit unhealthy saturated fat including fatty red meat." Also: "Work dietary fiber into your diet." And to stay safe at your age, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, 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.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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