I’ve seen Over-the-Hill milestone birthday cards for ages 30, 40, and 50, but that’s as high as they go. I guess when you’re 60, you’re so far gone over the hill that you don’t rate as over-the-hill, card-wise. However, according to AARP Magazine, there’s lots of good news for us who are 60+.
How much living is left?
For starters, you have plenty of years left. If you’re a woman aged 65, you have a whopping 21.5 years left. If you’re a man aged 65, you have 16.3 years. I feel so much better now. NOT. Well, there is some hope for more years because one out of 10 will live past 95. Maybe you’ll be that lucky one. I’m not sure how much living-it-up you’ll be doing, though.
There’s no better time to start working out
A Diabetes Prevention Program study showed that if you make healthy-type lifestyle changes in your 60s, you’ll actually reap more benefits than the youngsters.
Also your heart will pump as much blood as it did when you were young, provided you stay active. How active has always been debatable, but a new study done by the University of Texas Southwestern apparently has given us the “precise weekly exercise quota” to boost your heart’s power to pump by a whole 18%:
Four half-hour workouts a week (two workouts for strength training, one of fast-and-slow interval training and one at a steady pace) plus one hour-long moderately paced workout
This certainly seems doable. If you do more, maybe you’ll have a super heart. Exercise also may help slow down the shrinking of your brain and lower your chances for dementia.
Also, people in their 60s can develop the muscle power of a 40 year old in just four months of strength training twice a week.
Brain-wise, you’re doing good
You’re much wiser than you were at age 50. Apparently as you age, your brain rewires itself so the right and left hemispheres are linked. Your brain also processes emotions through the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, so you’re less bothered by negative stuff, plus the good stuff makes you feel better.
People in their 60s are better able to compromise and maintain perspective.
Your sense of taste and smell may begin to diminish, but this is a good time (according to AARP) to explore new and interesting foods that maybe you never tried before because they were too stinky for you.
Speaking of food, eat more protein to hold on to your muscles, especially if you want to lose weight.
Good news for relationships
Sex is good for people in their 60s. Studies show they like it. It makes their hearts happy. A 2018 Journals of Gerontology study showed that weekly sex was a “significant predictor of higher cognitive function.” I don’t know if this means that having more sex actually lowers your risk of dementia, but that’s what Journals of Gerontology seems to believe.
If that’s not enough to get you excited…
I’ll leave you with a few other facts AARP offered about getting older, for better or worse:
- Your allergies may be better because your immune system doesn’t get as freaked out as it did years ago
- You’re 26% less likely to die of cancer than your parents, partly due to advances in cancer treatment, and a drop in smoking
- Your eyes may look bigger because your eye sockets widen and lengthen
- 30% to 40% of women over 60 experience thinning hair, and more than 50% men have significant loss, so don’t feel bad if it happens to you
- Your teeth will be more prone to cavities
- Both men and women have to get up at night to pee; men because of their prostate and women because of weaker pelvic muscles
- Your shoe size gets larger because the bones in your feet shift as muscles and connective tissues weaken
- Less sun exposure over the years will mean less facial wrinkles
Here’s a little fact from me:
- Women are becoming more comfortable with graying naturally when it comes to our hair. Check out Going Gray & Lovin it on Facebook.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell her truth without shame.
2017 New Apple Book Awards Official Selection
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters