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Things to Never Do After Age 55 Say Experts

Seven things to stop doing after 55, health and medical experts warn.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

We all know as we age our bodies change whether we like it or not, but there's certain bad habits that can hurt us even more in our 50s than in our previous younger years. Although we may look and feel younger, our bodies need more care and attention as we age and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who reveal seven things to stop immediately after 55 and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Consume Too Much Alcohol

drinking alcohol

Dr. Suzanna Wong, a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic and health expert with Twin Waves Wellness says, "The single most important thing for people over 55 to stop doing is drinking lots of alcohol. Alcohol is metabolized differently to food, and it causes an increase in visceral fat, which appears as tummy fat. Visceral fat leads to some of the more nasty illnesses as you get older – cancer, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease and diabetes – so this is one that you want to do everything you can to stay in control of as you get older. The good thing is, visceral fat is completely controllable, and changing how much you drink, and improving the way you eat can reduce it, enabling you to live a longer, healthier life."

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states, "According to the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women, when alcohol is consumed. Drinking less is better for health than drinking more."


Listen to Loud Music

Person holding a brand new Apple iPhone XS with Spotify logo on the screen.

Kent Probst, personal trainer, kinesiotherapist and bodybuilder with Long Healthy Life explains, "People over 55 should stop listening to loud music and stop exposure to loud noise.  Your parents were right.  Exposure to loud noises over 85 decibels (dB) is a sure way to lose your hearing.  Hearing loss from exposure to loud noises can be a long term process, or it can happen immediately.  If you can't avoid loud noises, wear earplugs or other ear protection."


Saying Yes to Everything

Senior woman conducting an interview

Probst states, "People over 55 should stop saying "yes", and say "no" more.  Saying "no" more allows people more time to take care of themselves by reducing stress levels, such as with meditation. Evidence exists that demonstrates a wide range of benefits for those who meditate regularly.

Meditation may help with the following:

Pain reduction


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Ulcerative Colitis

Smoking Cessation





Spending Too Much Time Alone

Senior woman in consultation with her female doctor or therapist

Probst shares, "One of the secrets of healthy aging that people often don't think about is maintaining meaningful relationships.  Emotional support may be just as integral as diet and exercise in promoting healthy aging.  Meaningful relationships can help stave off depression that can result from spending a significant amount of time alone.  Even having a pet, such as a dog or cat, can be a source of emotional support."


High Impact Exercises

woman sitting with dumbbell at gym

"Aggressive exercise, such as squats, kettlebell jumping jacks, and excessive high impact exercises" should be avoided after 55 according to Barbara Bergin, M.D Retired Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. "Take things in moderation as you age. We are eventually victims of our gene pool, injuries of the past and our current exercise habits. There is some information in the literature on this kind of thing, but I mostly draw from 40 years of experience, and the concept of what keeps your orthopedic surgeon busy is probably something you shouldn't be doing. Squats and high impact exercise put a lot of strain on aging knees. Meniscus tears and the progression of osteoarthritis in weight bearing joints are the result. Humans, by natural design, are hunter gatherers. That means we walk long distances at a slow pace, and lift light weights. As we age, exercise routines should incorporate this." 


Trying to Exercise Away the Natural Deformities of Aging

Mature white-haired woman checking eye wrinkles in front of mirror.

Dr. Bergin says, "It doesn't work on 99..9% of people. When I tell my patients this, they sometimes come up with ads or articles featuring some ripped 80-year-old. This is the true definition of fake news. Anyone heard of  photoshopping? Plastic surgery? Your gene pool? These deformities of aging include: batwings, love handles, muffin-tops, decreased height, thick knees, hunch/hump back, and drooping breasts. They are due to natural, and progressive physical phenomena and in most circumstances, cannot be exercised away. Patients (mostly women) often hurt themselves trying to exercise them away. 

Decreased height and hunch/humpback are mostly due to the loss of articular cartilage between all of the joints, especially in the spine. In some cases, it is exacerbated by compression fractures of the spine, which can be prevented by maintaining bone density as we age. But the natural deformity and shortening due to loss of cartilage cannot be prevented. Other deformities are due to loss of muscle tone, but also the natural diminished integrity of collagen which occurs with aging, and cannot be stopped. Loss of muscle tone can be diminished but not stopped. Lifting light weights, and above all, trying to avoid injury while exercising, is helpful. Plastic surgeons can help too."


Thinking You Don't Have Osteoporosis Because There is No Pain

doctor with X-ray and senior patient in clinic. Knee problem

Dr. Bergin tells us, "Osteoporosis occurs in everyone if we live long enough. It is painless, unless we sustain a fragility fracture (fractures due to the presence of osteoporosis). Many patients mistakenly think that osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are related, and if they have no pain, then they must not have osteoporosis. Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are unrelated. There is no relationship between the two, other than both can be present at the same time…usually when we get older. Osteoporosis must be prevented, and once one has it, it should be treated. Exercise is only one part of the treatment of osteoporosis."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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