Over 60? Things To Do To Live Longer
If you’re over 60, you may be making retirement plans. If so, you can also plan to add years to your life. Research-based evidence shows that adopting healthy lifestyle habits can increase your longevity.
The good news is it’s never too late to reorder your life. Here are five steps you can take that can put you on the road to healthy aging:
1. Exercise Your Brain
Is there something that you’ve always wanted to try, like learning to play an instrument, but never did? Trying a new activity can be one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy because it forces you to think and learn, and continue practicing the activity, according to Dr. John N. Morris, director of social and health policy research at the Institute for Aging Research at Harvard University.
Without encouraging your brain to grow, Dr. Morris says your cognitive skills will decline, and “thinking and memory will be more challenging, so you need to build up your reserve.”
2. Adopt an Anti-Aging Diet
People over 60 have unique needs and should consume a variety of foods from the five food groups: Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Consuming healthy foods from each food group reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. It’s important to choose foods with little to no added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium.
People over 60 should also maintain a healthy weight, and get the nutrients that they need, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, potassium, calcium, and dietary fiber.
3. Stay Socially Connected
Did you know that social relationships are just as important to longevity as diet and exercise? One review of 148 studies, published in the journal, PLOS Medicine in July 2010, found that people with strong social relationships increase their chances of longevity by 50 percent.
The authors of a 2010 report published in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior wrote that there is “consistent and compelling evidence linking a low quantity or quality of social ties with a host of conditions,” including development and progression of cardiovascular disease, repeat heart attacks, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, cancer and delayed cancer recovery, and slower wound healing.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is more than just practicing meditation or yoga. Mind-body intervention not only helps to reverse the effect that stress or anxiety places on the body but also slows the rate of cellular aging, according to findings from a 2017 study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.
“Put simply, mind-body interventions cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing,” Dr. Ivana Buric, the lead investigator from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement said in a university news release.
5. Maintain High Levels of Physical Activity
You’ve probably heard it said that exercising on a regular basis can improve your health. But did you know that regular physical activity can also slow the aging process on a cellular level and potentially help you live longer?
Brigham Young University (BYU) researchers found that people who have consistently high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than those who have sedentary lifestyles and those who are moderately active. Telomeres are the molecular caps at the end of chromosomes. The older we get, our telomeres tend to get shorter.
According to the study, published in the medical journal, Preventive Medicine, people who were physically active had a “biological age” that was nine years younger than those who were sedentary, and a seven-year advantage compared to those who are moderately active.
“We know that regular physical activity helps to reduce mortality and prolong life, and now we know part of that advantage may be due to the preservation of telomeres,” said Larry Tucker, the study’s lead researcher and professor of exercise science at BYU.
Building and preserving muscle is vital not only to aging well but also to reshaping your body. One way to reshape your body if you are over 60 is doing strength training exercises that create good muscle tension.
The following are two trainer-approved exercise tips that will help to reshape your body.
Tip #1: Perform a Compound Move with an Isolation
One way to make your muscles work harder is to pair compound movement with an isolation exercise that targets the same muscles.
Tip #2: Add Partials at the End
Once you’ve finished the number of reps in your exercise, go all the way back down to the bottom of the movement, and perform tiny pulses up and down for a few reps. This will make your body work harder, elevate your heart rate, and burn some extra calories.