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Over 60? Stop Doing These Things For Your Health Now

Stop before it's too late.

Staying healthy can help get us into the golden years, but at no point are we home free. Making good health choices can extend your life, and enhance your quality of life, at any age. And being vigilant about certain things can be especially helpful after middle age. Read on to find out about the health mistakes experts say you should never make after 60—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Settling For Inadequate Sleep

Senior Woman Suffering from Insomnia.

It's a myth that we need less sleep as we get older. In fact, it's crucial to good health and a longer life. That's because the body repairs itself during sleep, sweeping away toxins, repairing cellular damage and fine-tuning various systems. Poor-quality shut-eye has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, even dementia. Experts including the National Sleep Foundation recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night. If you're having trouble, your doctor can help. 


Letting Yourself Get Lonely

Sad mature woman looking out of window.

Just like poor sleep, loneliness is not something you should just accept as a part of getting older. Experts believe social isolation causes a stress response in the body, which over time can lead to inflammation and an impaired immune system. Research has found that loneliness can increase older adults' risk of dementia by 50% and may increase the risk of cancer (and poor prognosis). Prioritize regular socializing with friends and loved ones, join activity groups, or volunteer.


Skipping Vaccinations

unrecognizable doctor trying to vaccinate its patient while she is refusing it.

Get your COVID-19 booster shot when it's time—the chance of being hospitalized or dying from respiratory illnesses like the flu, pneumonia and COVID increases with age. Meanwhile, make sure you're getting all the other recommended vaccines for people over 60. The CDC says every adult should get an annual flu vaccine, and people over 60 should make it a priority. The CDC also recommends two pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines for people 65 and older, and two doses of shingles vaccine for people over 50.


Avoiding the Dentist

Female dentist examining a patient with tools in dental clinic

Periodontal disease—which affects the bones and gums around teeth—is a condition that is increasingly seen in the later years. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. What's more, studies have connected periodontal disease to other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. See your dentist regularly, and be sure they measure your gums and review your X-rays for any signs of bone loss. 


Skipping Regular Exercise

Tired senior hispanic man sleeping on dark blue couch, taking afternoon nap at the living room

Experts say that exercising regularly improves muscle tone and mass, decreases bone loss, improves memory, increases metabolism and improves sleep—all terrifically helpful after 60. Conversely, being sedentary raises your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. 

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) each week. Some examples of moderate-intensity exercise include brisk walking, dancing or gardening; vigorous exercise includes running, swimming, hiking or biking.

And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael