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Surprising Side Effects You'll Feel After 60

It's not too late to fix them.

Aging, as various sayings go, isn't easy. But today, we can live healthier, happier lives after age 60 than past generations, thanks to science. The key is staying up to date on the latest information about healthy aging, discarding the myths of yesteryear and knowing when to leave certain youthful habits in the rear-view mirror. These are some of the surprising side effects of aging you might feel after 60, and what to do about them. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


You Might Have Trouble Sleeping

older woman trouble sleeping

As we get older, our sleep cycle tends to become fragmented, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Contrary to decades of conventional wisdom, that difficulty doesn't mean older adults "need" less sleep. At every age, sleep is an important way for various organs and the immune system to refresh and recharge, reducing the risk of chronic illness. The sweet spot is seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night, experts say. If you've not getting enough, talk to your doctor about potential solutions. And don't overdo it: Getting too much sleep may increase your risk of heart disease, said researchers at the American College of Cardiology last May. 


You May Have Trouble Holding Your Liquor

drinking alcohol

As you get older, it might take fewer drinks to make you feel intoxicated. As we age, the body produces fewer of the enzymes that break down alcohol, circulation slows, and lean muscle mass declines (along with metabolism). All of that makes alcohol stay in your system longer. That's a concern for a number of reasons—one being that as we age, alcohol-related falls and injuries can cause more damage. To stay healthy, experts advise drinking in moderation: No more than two drinks a day for men, and no more than one drink a day for women. 

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Pot Might Not Chill You Out

A mature woman with closed eyes sitting on sofa and holding joint with legal marijuana.

More adults of every age are using cannabis these days, taking advantage of more widespread legality and acceptance. But pot isn't totally harmless, and studies have found it can unwanted side effects in older people. For example: Research published last winter on JAMA Network Open found an association between the use of cannabinoids and thinking and perception disorders in people over 50. A 2017 study found that marijuana users 50 to 64 years old were more likely to participate in risky activities, such as DUI. And older people who use marijuana are more likely to be stressed or depressed than non-users, according to a review of studies published in the journal Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

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Exercise May Make You Younger

older couple tracking exercise outside

Recent studies have found that regular exercise doesn't just keep your weight down after 60 — it may actually make you younger. A 2018 study found that older men and women who exercised regularly were, biologically, almost 30 years younger than their chronological ages.

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Being Tired May Shorten Your Life 

Tired mature woman take off glasses suffering from headache

Just like poor sleep, chronic fatigue isn't a natural part of aging. Often, it's a sign that something about your lifestyle can (and should) be fixed. A study published this month in the Journal of Gerontology found that in many people over 60, feeling tired after physical activity indicated they were more likely to die within three years. The solution? Get more exercise. "This is the time of year when people make — and break — New Year's resolutions to get more physical activity," said the study's lead author, a physical activity epidemiologist. "I hope our findings provide some encouragement to stick with exercise goals. Previous research indicates that getting more physical activity can reduce a person's fatigability. Our study is the first to link more severe physical fatigability to an earlier death." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael
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