Over 60? Here's How to Live Decades Longer
Life begins at 60—if you take care of yourself, that is. These days aging doesn't mean giving up the things you enjoy or having to slow down. Look after your health with these very simple lifestyle habits and enjoy a robust, happy, vibrant life as you get older. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs COVID is Hurting You—Even After a Negative Test.
Exercise Your Body
Did you know that regular exercise is good for you on a biological level? Research shows that people who consistently work out have healthier telomeres—those little caps on the end of our chromosomes that indicate how fast we are aging—than people who don't exercise. "We know that, in general, people with shorter telomeres die sooner and are more likely to develop many of our chronic diseases," says Larry Tucker, professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University. "It's not perfect, but it's a very good index of biological aging."
Exercise Your Brain
Learning new skills, playing an instrument, and doing puzzles are just some of the things that encourage brain plasticity. "Eventually, your cognitive skills will wane and thinking and memory will be more challenging, so you need to build up your reserve," says Dr. John N. Morris, director of social and health policy research at the Harvard-affiliated Institute for Aging Research. "Embracing a new activity that also forces you to think and learn and requires ongoing practice can be one of the best ways to keep the brain healthy."
Eat an Anti-Aging Diet
A healthy, balanced diet is key not only to living decades longer, but for thriving as you age. According to the USDA, people over 60 need to "Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group to help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Be sure to choose foods with little to no added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium. Get enough protein throughout your day to maintain muscle mass.
Focus on the nutrients you need, including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, dietary fiber, and vitamin B12."
Make Time For Friends and Family
The research is unequivocal: Maintaining strong relationships with friends and family as we grow older is essential for a longer life. "The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health," says Robert Waldinger, psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation."
Meditation is not only good for managing stress, it can actually slow your rate of cellular aging. "Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realize is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business," says Ivana Buric, Lead investigator from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University's Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement. "These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, mind-body interventions cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing." And to live your healthiest life, don't miss this life-saving advice I'm a Doctor and Here's the #1 Sign You Have Cancer.