How to Stay Fit Over 60

How to stay fit and healthy during your golden years

The over-60 population has specific dietary and fitness needs to prevent illnesses and conditions associated with aging. For example, men and women over 60 are at higher risk for heart disease, certain cancers, vision deterioration and bone loss. Staying fit over 60 is not that different from fitness at every other age — it involves eating well, exercising and getting the right vitamins and minerals. However, proper nutrition and exercise can mean something different for someone over 60.

Step 1: Eat well

Some people over 60 find that their appetite decreases as they become less active. Be sure to eat regularly to ensure your body gets the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals. Instead of eating three large meals daily, try eating smaller meals and snacks throughout the day. Avoid processed foods or refined starches like white flour and white bread because highly processed foods can negatively affect blood sugar and cause weight gain. Make sure to eat foods high in calcium, including dairy and dark, leafy greens, to combat bone loss that can come with aging. Including high-fiber foods will help regulate your digestive system.

Step 2: Choose low-impact exercises

If you've been running marathons since your 20s and you're still going strong, keep at it! For everyone else over 60, high-impact exercise can negatively affect bone health and the strength of your connective tissues. Walking is an excellent exercise for improving lung and cardiovascular heath, and for burning calories. According to the United Kingdom's National Health Service, a daily walk of one mile can improve bone density and burn the same amount of calories as running a mile in eight and a half minutes.

Step 3: Relieve stress

Stress increases the risk of heart attacks and other health issues, especially in people over 60. An excellent way to relieve stress and get a great workout at the same time is to practice yoga. A good yoga class will teach you relaxation techniques while promoting flexibility. Regular massages and meditation will also help relieve stress.

Step 4: Take your supplements

Nutritional supplements can fill in the gaps of your diet. Calcium supplements are especially important for women over 60, who are susceptible to osteoporosis. Saw palmetto supplements can promote prostate health in men over 60, who have a higher risk for prostate cancer. Consult your physician to find out what supplements work best for your specific health situation.

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