Your 60s are a big decade. You may be planning to put your work life behind you and retiring. You may have more time to spend on yourself. While all of the change can be exciting and scary, what better time to start working on a "new you" than in this phase of your list? This "new you" can be even more focused on being healthy and feeling great. Make your retirement not about "resting" but about reaching your maximum health and working toward a long life of health and happiness. Here are ten things that can get you started.
1. It's Not Too Late for a Healthy Lifestyle
Don't think that just because you are in your 60s, all your cards have been dealt when it comes to health. Even changes you make now can significantly improve your health and, in some cases, reverse some of the damage that has been done in your younger years.
One of the biggest longevity mistakes that people make is thinking it is "too late" for them. Healthy steps like getting your weight under control, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, exercising at least 2.5 hours a week, and not smoking will improve your health and longevity at any age.
2. Keep Up Your Sex Life
Sex is an important part of life and of health. You can have an active, rewarding sex life your entire life. Some even say that a healthy sex life can increase your life expectancy (as if you needed another reason to keep it up). Learn about some of the issues around sex for men and women in their 60s, and take action to maintain a healthy, rewarding sex life.
3. Make Time to Take Care of Your Brain
Your brain likes problems. The brain likes something to puzzle over and figure out. It loves making new connections and learning, a practice that studies have shown keeps your brain healthy. Be sure to take steps to keep your brain happy in retirement.
Avoid falling into too much of a routine and keep your brain supplied with new and challenging thoughts. From puzzles to learning new skills, more and more research shows that a healthy brain into old age depends on constant intellectual stimulation. Take some courses, learn new things, and stay smart.
4. Make Time to Take Care of Your Body
Don't let your body retire when you do. Now that you have moved on from work and the kids have moved out, it is time to focus on your health. Sure, before you were busy and perhaps felt like you didn't always have time to exercise and cook healthy meals, but you should have more control of time now.
Use that time to undo some of the unhealthy things that you have done to your body. Lose weight, exercise, and eat fruits and vegetables (it really can be that simple). Make a plan for your body during retirement. Keep your body busy and active. Not only will you feel better. but you will likely live longer and healthier.
5. Think Positively About Aging
If you can develop a positive attitude toward aging, you could add up to 7.5 years to your life according to some researchers. Having a positive attitude affects how your body deals with stress and how it impacts your behaviors. Spend some time thinking about the positive aspects of age like wisdom and having more time for your own spiritual growth. See how many positive things about aging you can think up and remind yourself of those positives.
6. Take Control of Your Medical Care
Not understanding your medications and treatments can increase your risk of death. Research has found that patients who do not ask questions or do not understand their medical conditions are at an increased risk of complications and death.
Increase your chances of having a good outcome and maintaining good health by asking questions and taking the time to research and understand your medical conditions until your fully understand them. It could save your life.
7. Keep Getting Tested
By now you should be used to preventative care and screenings. Make sure you keep going and getting everything checked in your 60s. It will start to seem like a lot of exams and tests, but those doctors appointments can help detect illness early, when it can be treated with the highest rate of success.
Make a commitment to keep up with the preventative care and screening plan you develop with your doctor. You might even decide to find some way to make screenings fun by bringing a good book or giving yourself a reward like a favorite lunch or purely fun appointment afterward. Adding just a little bit of something to look forward will make it a lot easier to keep those appointments.
8. Learn About Hormones and Aging
Your hormones continue to change throughout your life, including as you age. Some people believe that these changes in hormones are what causes aging. The truth is more complicated.
Before you look into hormone therapies, take some time to learn the facts about hormones and aging -- and be sure to talk to a doctor (who isn't selling anything) about how hormone supplements might be able to help you.
9. Use Your Time Productively
Retirement is all about time and having time to do what you want. Once you stop working, you gain at least 40 hours a week, which can be great for the busy body, but there are a few dangers associated with all of this extra time like television.
The average retired person watches over 4 sedentary hours of TV a day. That is time that could, and should, be spent doing things that are healthy for your brain and body. It could be time spent exercising, socializing, volunteering, cooking healthy foods, and doing other things that you love.
Things like watching too much TV can become an easy, unhealthy habit in a matter of days. Take control of your time in retirement and use it to make yourself healthier and happier.
10. Maintain Your Social Life
You've planned financially for retirement, but have you planned socially? Going from an active working environment where you interact with others throughout the day to being home can be a tremendous social change.
Make a plan for getting out and being with people on a regular basis. Social contact can improve health because interacting with people helps you manage emotions, stress, and helps you maintain good habits. Make a plan for how you want your social life to be in retirement -- and then act on it.
The Bottom Line
Your 60s should be an active time of your life spent enjoying everything you've worked for, including your health. Don't see retirement or semi-retirement only as a phase to plan financially, be sure that you are ready to take care of your mind and body for years to come.