The After-60 Plan

Doing something that gets your heart rate up at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week, is just one of the important
healthy habits that should be on your to-do list, especially after age 60 when your risk of heart attack and stroke increases.

So what else can you do to live well in your 60s and beyond? Here are six healthy habits to put on your to-list today!

Healthy Habit #1: Pump iron

It’s not as intimidating as it sounds. A simple weight-training routine, such as dumbbell curls added to your aerobic workout, builds bone strength, an important factor in preventing fractures as we age.

“After 60, your risk of falling increases,” says Karla Adams, FNP-C, family medicine provider at Bingham Healthcare Family Medicine. “The stronger your bones and muscles are, the less likely you are to injure yourself.”

However, always talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program, and once you get the go-ahead, talk to your personal trainer about the exercises best suited for your abilities.

Healthy Habit #2: Add vegetables to every meal

You’ve probably preached “eat your veggies!” to your kids and grandkids before, but are you listening to your own advice? Adams says, “It’s essential to get a least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day to have enough fiber in your diet. For older adults, 21 grams for women, and 30 grams for men.”

“Fiber’s going to help your colon work better and decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,” Adams explains.

Healthy Habit #3: Check in with your doctor more often

You may think you only need to see your primary care physician when you’re not feeling well, but this could be putting you at risk.

“You need to see a doctor at leastonce a year after 60, and every three to six months if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol,” Adams says. “Prevention is the best medicine.”

Use your checkups to have your physician review your blood pressure, which usually has no symptoms until it reaches a severe stage, blood sugar, kidneys, cholesterol, and liver health.

Healthy Habit #4: Get your eyes examined 

Schedule an eye exam every six months after 60. “People don’t realize that low vision, what makes daily tasks difficult, is not a normal sign of aging,” Adams says. “It can be a sign of a disease of the eye, such as glaucoma or cataracts. Caught early, there’s a better chance your vision can be repaired.”

You also can keep your eyes healthy by making sure you get enough sleep. “When you sleep, your eyes get the most lubrication,” Adams explains. “If you’re experiencing insomnia, talk to your doctor about possible causes.”

Healthy Habit #5: Exercise your mind

A mind is definitely a terrible thing to waste. There’s no reason your mind can’t be as sharp at 60 as it was at 30. But just like any other muscle in your body, your brain needs a workout, too.

“Cognitive thinking, such as doing crossword puzzles or having a lively debate with a friend, can increase the blood flow to your brain,” says Adams. She also recommends dancing. “Learn a dance with specific moves and then repeat them.”

And keep your brain’s synapse firing at top speed by watching your stress levels. It’s especially important for people who continue to work into their 60s and beyond. “Take regular vacations from work to let your mind and body rest,” says Adams.

Healthy Habit #6: Spend time in nature

Have you ever noticed that while or after spending time in nature, you feel a natural “high?” Well, that’s because scientific studies have proven that nature helps people to feel healthier and happier, especially in today’s 21st technological century.

“Everyone needs to disconnect from screens and beeping and buzzing devices,” says Adams. “There are so many compelling reasons why I tell my patients to spend more time outdoors.”

Spending time in nature may help to ease feelings of anxiety, depression, and negativity, especially being close to water. Research also suggests that people who spend time in nature have lower levels of inflammation and a naturally improved immune system. By being outdoors, you increase the amount of vitamin D your skin is absorbing, which improves mood and can affect weight, appetite, and metabolism.

Start Healthy Habits Today

Your life is just beginning. Make your 60s the best years of your life by starting a new exercise routine and eating a healthier diet. Karla Adams’ and her medical team can help you come up with a healthy living plan customized to your needs. Call (208) 782-3990 today to schedule an appointment today.

Karla Adams, FNP-C, can be seen at:
Bingham Healthcare Family Medicine
(inside the 1stChoice Urgent Care & Family Medicine Bldg.)
1350 Parkway Dr.
Blackfoot, ID 83221

Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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