I don’t feel like I’m 64, and in my mind, I’m still the same girl I’ve always been. But it’s a fact that my body has changed as the years have gone by, and the older I get the quicker those changes seem to multiply.
My stamina, although pretty doggone good, is not what it was 10, or even 5, years ago. I don’t like the crepey skin on my body, the wrinkles in my neck and the lines on my face, but that’s a topic for another post. And let’s not even talk about the belly fat.
Along the way, I’ve learned some invaluable truths about healthy living after 60; how to stay healthy as I am aging. No magic here, girls, but essential tips all the same. I created a free printable for you to keep as a reference for these all-important healthy living tips! More info at the bottom of the post.
My tips for staying healthy don’t advise what to eat, how to exercise or what medical tests you should periodically undergo. All of these lifestyle choices are critically important, but I believe they will be much more effective if accompanied by these attitudes and attributes:8 essential tips for staying healthy in midlife, and it's much more than just exercise! Click To Tweet
1) Maintain a positive attitude to keep stress at bay
Looking at the situations that life throws at you from the perspective of finding the upside rather than seeing only the negatives can help keep you functioning at healthy levels. Stress can do terrible things to your health if allowed to run rampant.
In fact, stress can affect your body, mood, and behavior. Don’t let that happen. While you can’t control your life, you can control how you deal with it.
When my husband passed at the age of 61, I was devastated. He was my best friend, my soul mate, my partner. It took everything I had and then some to put one foot in front of the other and get through the days. I still miss him so much, every single day.
But you know what? I’ve learned that immersing myself in my own grief doesn’t help me or anyone else. I look for the positive in every situation, every day…and it really helps keep me on track.
How do you typically look at your life? Is it from a positive viewpoint?
2) Moderation is key
I’ve said that for years. It sounds so simple, probably too simple to some of you. But think about it. If you keep yourself from the extremes, in most situations, you’ll have a more positive outcome. I find that this philosophy is key to healthy living after 60.
Let’s use our diet as an example. A moderate plan of eating will keep you from an extreme starvation diet or giving up and gorging yourself. Maybe it’s a bit oversimplified, but the concept is sound. You know…have a handful of chips, not the entire bag, or a couple of cookies instead of half a dozen.
When I drink, it’s usually a glass of white wine. Once in a while, I’ll have a second when I’m out socially, but I know the effect it will have on me, and the possible consequences. So 99% of the time I’ll opt to say, no thanks. Stick with one glass. Don’t go overboard but don’t deprive yourself, either.
Sometimes we can take something good and carry it to the extreme, and then it turns into something not so healthy. It might be exercise, keeping the house clean, or some other daily task. If it starts to take over your life, you’ve lost that moderate position and it could be detrimental to your health and well being.
Is there something in your life that consumes too much of your activities, thoughts or time?
3) Healthy Living After 60? Physical activity is essential
This one is not negotiable. Whether we’re 25 or 65, our bodies need to be active relative to our age and level of health.
For me, healthy living after 60 is a combination of walking, strength training, and stretching and toning exercises.
I love to walk for exercise. I find it to be a wonderful stress reliever. It gives me the time to think, ponder, listen to music and get some vitamin D. Admittedly I don’t get out as often as I should. But when I keep on a regular walking schedule I always feel and look better.
My exercise bike is one of my best friends. After a busy workday, it gives me a chance to burn off some calories and zone out watching Netflix for 30 minutes. It’s habit-forming.
Crunches and strength training…been doing this for years. I need to be more faithful with it, but I know the dedication pays off with more toning in my arms and a tighter tummy. I know it will only do so much, but it helps.
Your overall health will determine what, and how much, exercise you can safely engage in, but make sure that whatever you can do, it stays at the top of your list!
How about you? What form of exercise do you practice regularly?
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4) Live in the present with anticipation for the future
"We're not promised tomorrow" is a phrase that my late husband, the love of my life, used to say, and to practice.
The Bible says reiterates that, too, telling us not to worry about tomorrow, for today has enough troubles of its own (Matt. 6:34). How true.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the future plans that today (yesterday, last week, last month), is quickly forgotten. Do we want to plan ahead? Of course. Set goals? Absolutely. We're never too old for either. But when all is said and done, that is all they are, plans and goals.
Enjoy today. You don't know what tomorrow may bring your way. Reading or watching the news brings that into perspective every day.
How do you view the future?
5) Reject Harmful, Addictive Habits
What are you doing today that is harmful to your body, mind or relationships? It could be smoking, excessive drinking, unhealthy eating habits, or anything that is so addictive it's influencing your daily decisions in a negative way. If you embrace the term, 'healthy living after 60' and take it to heart, there are some things that you may need to take a close look at in your life.
I love coffee. My family and friends are well aware of that fact. And, I'm a coffee snob. But even so, I only drink a couple of cups a day, because I know that an excess of caffeine would not be a good thing for me! And I won't even think about decaf...why bother?
How much time are you spending on social media? Playing games? Staring at your investments? Working on that tan? If it is interfering with your relationships and daily life, give that some hard, honest thought.
Consider WHY you are doing these things, spending inordinate amounts of time on them. Sometimes we don't want to deal with a relationship or situation that is difficult, stressful or makes us unhappy.
Again...What are you doing, today, that is harmful to your body, mind or relationships?
6) Embrace the stage of life you are experiencing
High on the list of tips for staying healthy and embracing overall fitness after 60 include our acceptance, no...our enthusiastic embrace, of our current life stage.
It seems like only a few years ago that I was 40. Where did the time go? Am I really pondering retirement?
I have to be honest. I find myself wishing that I were younger, firmer, less wrinkly...basically a more youthful version of myself. Magically.
And it's not gonna happen, girls. We are where we are, and the best thing we can do for ourselves and our family is to accept, embrace and enjoy this time in our lives. In fact, we can live our best lives when we take the time to refocus and refresh as women in midlife!
For me, it's a daily affirmation of my life, myself, and being grateful for where I am today. And, I do my best to not focus on the sags, bags, and wrinkles 🙂
Are you grateful for where you are in life today?
7) Love your spouse, your partner, your family
I'm always amazed when I hear that family members are not speaking to each other. Really? Or, couples who really don't like each other and are verbally abusive. Why?
I overheard a couple recently who were calling each other names, being spiteful and mean with their conversation. I wonder if it made them feel better to talk that way...probably not.
It takes energy to be angry, resentful and vengeful. All that energy is taking you away from maintaining a healthy mind and body. Why would you want to do that?
How can you focus on your health and longevity when all that time is spent (needlessly) on being angry?
If you are honest with yourself and find that you're going down that road, commit to yourself right now to stop. Life is just too short. It's not worth it.
Is there someone you should talk to today? Do it.
8) If it's in the past, let it go
Of all the tips for healthy living after 60, this one is high on the list for me personally.
When you lose a loved one, the tendency is to go back and think about the things you could/should/would have done differently with the person who is gone. It's really easy to get your mind going and fall into that rut. And guess what? It doesn't change one thing about the past. It all happened the way it happened. Period.
Anytime you dwell on the past, whether it involves someone who is gone, still in your life, or something you did by yourself, you're taking away precious time that you have to live today.
Let's take this tip and put it into the perspective of living a healthy life now, whatever your age. If you say to yourself, "I shouldn't have eaten that dessert yesterday", or, "Why did I say that unkind remark to my partner?", or, "Why couldn't I have done better at (you name the sport) yesterday?" All of those thoughts take you away from the gift that you have, and that is Today.
So, what is the take away from all of this? Hopefully, you'll ponder these tips for fitness after 60 as well as those important lifestyle choices, take them to heart and use them as a foundation for a happy and healthy life, no matter your age!