Turning 60

A friend of mine who is VERY close in age to me recently turned 60. He posted an article from WebMD.com about what we can expect during the upcoming decade. What follows is the (mostly) depressing list:

  1. Most people in this decade report that they are actually happy! There is a bell curve and most sexagenarians are still near the top.
  2. Cancer diagnoses rise in this age category; make sure to get your scans!
  3. 40% of Americans in their 60s have some kind of hearing loss, and yet only 20% of people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them.
  4. Weight slowly increases. I have blogged about this before; our metabolism does not slow, but rather our eating habits get worse and we exercise and move less as we age.
  5. Skin changes. It thins out and gets visible lines; make sure to wear that sunscreen and moisturize!
  6. Heart disease; the mid-60s are prime time for heart failure, strokes, and heart attack. Maintain a healthy diet, stay smoke-free, and exercise to prevent these issues.
  7. Cognitive decline. Our ability to learn new things becomes more challenging, but long-term memories, knowledge, and wisdom generally stay with us. Keep active and play brain games.
  8. Vision issues. By age 65 about 1/3 of us have some kind of eye disease. Make sure to have regular check-ups since pain is not usually associated with eye problems.
  9. Bones and Joints do not work as they used to. Keeping active and doing resistance exercises can help bone strength. Talk to your PCP about supplements that might also help.
  10. Sleep quality decreases. Our bodies produce less melatonin naturally which regulates our sleep. Supplements can help, and physicians can also prescribe safe sleep aids that allow our bodies to rest and regenerate.
  11. Blood pressure can become and issue. Years of fat build-up in our blood vessels can raise blood pressure; the vessels can also harden. Monitor this regularly as hypertension can lead to other issues.
  12. Incontinence can become a nuisance. The bladder is not as elastic as it once was; this can lead to more frequent urination and the need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night (see #10). There are strategies to help this and a doctor is your best resource.
  13. Immunity decreases as the body’s production of germ-destroying T-Cells comes to an end. This makes it all the more important to get immunized; pneumonia and shingles can become new concerns for those in their 60s.
  14. Our oral health can be challenged. About 30% of those over 65 have dry mouth. The risk of oral cancer also increases 4-fold from when we are in our 40s. Make sure to have regular visits with your dentist.

This all seems pretty overwhelming, but the news is not all bad. Everything on the list can be controlled or prevented with good diet, exercise, rest, and regular health and dental check-ups. Our “golden years,” do not need to be a slow (or fast) descent into decrepitude. This is precisely why I do the work that I do. I help my clients–and myself–lived the best lives possible from a fitness perspective.

Wishing all my fellow sexagenarians good health and fitness!