Staying mentally and physically active can help keep you, well, younger — particularly in your 60s, when you’re just getting used to the idea that the reading glasses and wrinkles are here to stay, Oh My!
Collecting the state pension and bus pass at 65 has traditionally been seen as a watershed moment where middle age ends and the twilight years begin.
But new research suggests that old age now starts at 74, with middle age lasting at least nine years longer than current estimates.
So what can we expect during this decade?
There are so many issues to discuss; I am going to begin a new series on What to Expect in Your 60’s.
Here are just a few of the reasons you should be psyched about turning 60:
- You can enjoy the freedom to dress down when you want.
- You know who your real friends are — and they all weren’t college roommates.
- You truly understand other people and have gained a real appreciation for all types of personalities.
- You know what really matters and have stopped striving for needless goals.
You know high heels were designed by a misogynist and just don’t wear them.
- You have weathered marital storms and your relationship is stronger because of it.
- You are okay spending time alone; in fact, you prefer it sometimes.
- You know the value of sleep and are okay being the first to leave the party to go home and get some.
- You know that diet is a lifestyle, not a temporary restriction on what you eat.
- You understand that garments like Spanx are cruel and unnecessary additions to your life.
- You no longer worry about where your hemline should be and instead wear what’s comfortable.
…and I could go on and on.
It seems that everyone ages differently, and lifestyle plays a major role, but you’ll experience both hard-to-notice and impossible-to-miss changes in your physical and mental health. Here are a few examples:
Decrease in Strength or Stamina
With age, we lose muscle tissue and our muscles become more rigid and less toned. Weight training and stretching improve strength and flexibility, though we can’t completely counteract this natural course of aging.
Our organs lose their extra reserve, too. The walls of the heart become thicker, the arteries are stiffer, and the heart rate slows as we age. Aging of the heart is a major reason it may be harder to exercise vigorously when we are older as we could when we were 20. Yet maintaining regular aerobic activity — even just walking — can improve our stamina.
When should you worry? Get an immediate evaluation if you have chest pain , especially with dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, or fainting. Those are possible signs of a heart attack. Problems with your heart rate could cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or fatigue.
One in 10 people age 65 or older have anemia, or a low level of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. It can cause fatigue and can be treated with iron supplements or medications to spur the body to produce more red blood cells.
We get happier in our 60’s. A recent AARP survey showed that from your early 50s on, happiness increases over time. One explanation for the trend: years of experience. “As you get older, you know that bad times are going to pass,” says Laura Carstensen, Ph.D., director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. “You also know that good times will pass, which makes those good times even more precious.”
A little word of advice; you might stay away from stressful situations, thereby missing out on new opportunities. Just make sure all your social interactions stay strong. They may be key to facing future challenges with resilience.
With this in mind, studies have shown that people in their 60’s are consistently happier and satisfied with their lives.
One thing I noticed in my 60ish years, I seem to be busier than when I was in my 40’s or 50’s. Is this normal? Well, I know my calendar is twice as full as it was years ago. But, I do believe this is a good thing.
My Aunt, who is “young” and 90ish, has been working for about 65 years. She is still working today! She works at home and goes into the office. And she has no intention of stopping. Her mind is active!
The things that truly amaze me at Bristol Village are the unbelievable ages of a cross-section of the Community that exceeds 90 years old! They are all active throughout the community running meetings, playing pickleball, acting in the numerous stage shows, competing in the Senior Olympics, and this is only the beginning. I always said there must be something good in the water! I definitely want to follow in their footsteps!
The next post will highlight 10 additional things to expect when we turn 60, and also will highlight 2 more physical expectations.
So, join the dialogue and add to our growing list of expectations.
As always, I am…a really young Boomer Explorer.