Health Experts Told Us What You Should Never Do After 60 — Eat This Not That

Your 60s can be a golden age, provided you eliminate certain bad habits that could lessen your quality of life and undermine your health. “I think very naturally, patients and families will have a lot of conceptions about what it takes to be sort of older and no one wants to be geriatric,” says Ardeshir Hashmi, MD, Director of the Center for Geriatric Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. “I don’t want to be geriatric, either. But do I want to age successfully? Absolutely. I want to be physically and mentally fit for many, many years to come.” Here are five bad habits to drop after 60, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

older couple sleeping peacefully

Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise for Americans over 60, experts warn. “Many people outlive their spouses and find themselves dating again, in a retirement setting or elsewhere, for the first time in decades,” says Amanda Lathia, MD, an expert in geriatric medicine. “In addition, treatments for sexual dysfunction have made it easier to enjoy being sexually active later in life… Too many people think, ‘I’m a clean, decent person, so it won’t happen to me’. But STDs can happen to anyone without proper protection.”

Doctor injecting vaccine to senior woman

Health experts are advising Americans over 60 to get their second booster. “The data out of Israel is pretty compelling for people over 60,” says White House Covid-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish K. Jha. “When people got that second booster shot four months after their first booster, what we saw was a substantial reduction, not just in infections, but in deaths. So I think people over 60 should be getting it.”

Work as volunteer. Experienced senior volunteer holding garbage bag

“As we retire, society really celebrates the young, the beauty of youth and sort of the working class, but who’s to say that we retire at 65 anymore, right?” says Dr. Hashmi. “I mean, and if we do, who’s to say that now we have time to do the things that we’ve always wanted to do. So taking charge of that schedule, and really scheduling the things that you’ve always wanted to do. Having that sense of purpose, and really volunteering your time. This is another part of the secret sauce, the more you volunteer your time, the health benefits of this are immense. They’re significant. Makes you feel good all day, you help someone else out and then maybe you even help someone out, who is similarly going through the same phase of life that you are.”

mediterranean diet

If you want to maintain optimum brain function as you get older, be proactive about your brain health. “While we can never guarantee the prevention of dementia, we know that people who eat closer to the Mediterranean or MIND diets,” says Jessica Caldwell. Ph.D. “Lower saturated fats, more fruits, and vegetables, fewer processed foods, for example – tend to have better cognitive or thinking outcomes as they age.”

A close up image of an open package of cigarettes.

You obviously shouldn’t be smoking at any age, but smoking after 60 is almost guaranteed to negatively impact the quality of your life as you age. “The longer a person avoids any tobacco product, the healthier a person will get” says Katelin Hartigan, LMHC. “Improved health and decreased mortality occurs when people quit smoking even after age 60. Benefits of smoking cessation in older adults include reduced progression of respiratory disease and improvement in lung function. Older adults will see decreased cognitive impairment and prevention of dementia. Actually, there is a reduced risk of all major causes of death once you quit! An obvious benefit and one of the most important is improved safety, quality and length of life.”

Ferozan Mast

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more

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