Avoid Unhealthy Fats
You already know that saturated fats are bad for your arteries and heart health. They can also harm your concentration and memory. So cut down on the red meat, butter, and other foods high in saturated fats. Instead, add more fatty fish and fats from plants, like flaxseed and nuts. These healthy fats may have extra benefits for your heart and your brain.
As you get older, your metabolism slows down and you need fewer calories. So make the calories you eat count. Choose foods packed with the nutrients you need. Eat dark leafy greens and colorful fruits and vegetables. Increase low-fat dairy to get calcium for bones. Fortified foods like cereals with vitamin B12 and milk with vitamin D can help, too. Cut down on empty calories from sugary drinks and sweets.
Cut your salt intake
Is your blood pressure higher than it used to be? That's not unusual. Blood pressure tends to go up as we get older. Since sodium can drive up your blood pressure, cut down on salt in your diet. The worst high-salt food offenders are premade and packaged foods. Bread and rolls can also be high in sodium. Want a natural sodium-buster? Eat a banana -- the potassium will help lessen the effect of sodium in your diet and help keep your blood pressure lower.
Getting older doesn't mean you have to give up your morning run. People used to think running would wreck their knees. But new research suggests it might actually strengthen them. Running doesn't seem to raise your risk of arthritis either. It helps strengthen muscles, support the joints, and lessen pain. So choose low-impact exercise like walking or biking instead. One study found that regular exercise in middle age can lower your risk of memory and thinking problems when you're older by 39%.
May be you didn't have the healthiest habits in your 30s and 40s. Maybe you ate too much and exercised too little. That's okay. The key is to make some changes now. Changing your lifestyle in your 60s and beyond like exercising more and eating healthier can still make a big difference. You can lower your risk of heart problems, cancer, and bone fractures. It's never too late to start being healthier and more fit now than you were when you were 30. Aerobic exercise is important, but don't forget to build your muscles, too. One study found that regular strength training reversed aging in the muscles of older people. Genetic changes in their cells made their muscles more like those of people in their 20s.
Have a sound sleep
You might need a little less sleep these days than you used to. That's normal. But if you're getting less than 7 hours a night, or feel exhausted during the day, get help. Insomnia is not a normal part of getting older. Exercise more, drink less alcohol, discuss your medications with your doctor, or seek treatment if you have an underlying problem like depression or anxiety; it can help you sleep soundly again.
Engage in sexual activity
As you get older, your sex life changes and there can be some real benefits. You're more confident. You've been having sex for a while. You're so much better at it than you were when you were 22. Getting older can free your sex life from hang-ups and constraints, especially if your kids have moved out and you have the house to yourself again.
Ward Off Wrinkles
Want your skin to defy the years? Use sunscreen every day. A 2013 study found that using sunscreen daily really does prevent wrinkles. And it's not too late -- even people who didn't start using sunscreen until middle age still get a benefit. Use a product with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Adopt a pet
If your kids have moved out and your home feels empty, think about adopting a pet. People with pets like cats and dogs seem to have lower cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. They also need fewer doctors' visits. We don't know why exactly pets seem to help. But at the very least, having a dog that needs walks is a great way to build in daily exercise.
Spend more time with friends or family. It can help keep your mind keen. Studies have shown that very social people have sharper thinking and a much lower risk of memory problems as they age. Or try volunteering. It's linked with a lower risk of heart disease and a longer life. Don't wait until you retire to start. The earlier you begin volunteering, the lower your risk of health problems later.
Never stop learning
Surprise yourself. Instead of sticking with what's familiar and comfortable, look for new experiences. Go to out-of-the-ordinary places. Make new friends. Learn a musical instrument or a language. New experiences will build new pathways in your brain, keeping your mind healthy as you age. They'll also expand your options for finding excitement and happiness.
Rejoice in the Rewards of Age
One recent study found that the older people get, the more content and satisfied they are. People in their 80s reported being more satisfied than people in their 70s. So look forward to the future. It could be a time of great happiness.