We can’t stop the aging process, but we can take steps to slow it down or even help reverse some of its effects. This is the third part in a series of brief articles highlighting general considerations for movement, nutrition and lifestyle choices for each decade of the adult life span. (Check out if you’re in your 20s or 30s, or 40s and 50s.)
When you’re young, 60 seems old. But once you’ve hit your 40s, you quickly realize it’s not, which is why many people are claiming that 60 is the new 40. If you made smart financial decisions (an entirely different article all together), this is the decade in which you will probably retire from your career and decide what you really want to do in life.
If you do retire during this decade, you will have the extra time for your workouts, so continue to experiment with new types of movement and sports to give your muscles and brain new learning opportunities.
|Types of Movement||Nutrition||Sleep|
|It’s more important than ever to move most days of the week. You can continue to do high-intensity workouts, but limit them to two days or less for optimal recovery. If you enjoy resistance training, this may be the time to start using more machines than free weights, so that you can use heavy weights while minimizing wear and tear on your joints.
Continue to change your workouts on a regular basis to keep using your muscles in different ways.
Just like young adults in their 20s, taking group classes is a great way to combine physical activity with social time and, if you’re recently retired, can be an effective way to make new friends. Aqua fitness classes, a good choice at any age, are a great option for exercise because they use a lot of muscle mass while reducing stress on your joints, which is important if you’re dealing with any arthritis.
|If you go through a major life change like retirement and you find yourself with extra time, make sure you avoid mindless snacking. If you know you’re a muncher while puttering around the house, then be sure to have plenty of healthy options and leave the sugary stuff on the grocery store shelves.||While it is important in every phase of life, sleep now becomes essential for maintaining optimal health. You may want to invest in your sleep hygiene with a new mattress.|
If 60 is the new 40, then 70 is the new 50. More and more, I meet people in the gym who are in this decade but look much younger because fitness has been an integral part of their life for years.
Do not let the number slow you down. Continue to participate in your favorite activities, but be smart about it by listening to your body and not forcing it to do any extremely uncomfortable exercises. If you’ve been a sporadic exerciser up to this point, consider this: Staying fit and strong now can help you maintain your functional independence longer and keep you from having to rely on assisted living.
|Types of Movement||Nutrition||Sleep|
|Resistance training, especially on machines, is completely appropriate and can help increase lean muscle mass and improve your functional strength for activities of daily living.
If you feel the effects of arthritis, don’t let it stop you from cardiorespiratory exercise, but do look for types that can reduce impact on your joints. Activities that require you to move your body in all directions (multi-planer movements), like tai chi, dance or yoga, are more important than ever for helping maintain balance, improving the integrity of your myofascial system and reducing the risk of orthopedic injuries.
|Keep making healthy choices. If you notice you start slowing down, make sure you reduce your caloric intake and watch what you eat so you can maintain a healthy body weight.||If you experience any disruptions of your nightly sleep habits, make sure to mention it to your health-care provider to identify a solution. The good news is that now you’ll probably have the time for an afternoon nap, so feel free to indulge, especially if it gives you the energy to participate in your favorite activities.|
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