In Your Prime: 5 health mistakes experts say you should avoid after 60

Bad habits are always bad, but they can be especially harmful after 60.
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Bad habits are always bad, but they can be especially harmful after 60.

Bad habits are always bad, but they can be especially harmful after 60.

Eat This, Not That spoke to experts about unhealthy habits to avoid. Here are five of them.

Mistake #1: Not prioritizing sleep

It’s not true that you need less sleep as you get older. That’s just an assumption some older adults make when they’re unable to sleep soundly, Time magazine reported.

“We say, on average, try to get seven or eight, but inevitably you’ll have people who need more or less than that,” Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, told the magazine. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to a greater risk of death among people with diabetes.

Mistake #2: Not complying with medication and dietary restrictions

People over 60 may have chronic health conditions including heart diseases and Type 2 diabetes. Medications for these conditions include anticoagulation drugs and insulin respectively. Such conditions also require transforming your diet by staying away from sodium and excess sugars.

“Failing to take medication can lead to avoidable hospitalization, morbidity and even death,” Dr. Darren P. Mareiniss, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College – Thomas Jefferson University, told Eat This, Not That.

Mistake #3: Exercising too much

Physical activity is good at any age, but too much can be harmful.

“If you’re going for a walk, walk slowly and steadily for a few minutes before picking up the pace. Relax, breathe and don’t be afraid to take it slowly at first. You’ll find that it comes more easily as you develop a routine,” Cleveland Clinic suggests.

Mistake #4: Continuing bad habits

Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are harmful at any age. It can be worse at 60.

Results of a long-term study found drinking and smoking 15 or more units per week was the riskiest behavior for all causes of death. Quitting smoking can decrease the risk of cancer, stroke and heart attack. Risks of drinking can increase with age.

“After drinking the same amount of alcohol, older people have higher blood alcohol concentrations than younger people because of such changes as a lower volume of total body water and slower rates of elimination of alcohol from the body,” Harvard Health Publishing said. “That means the beer or two you could drink without consequence in your 30s or 40s has more impact in your 60s or 70s.”

Mistake #5: Not keeping your brain sharp

Age-related brain changes are believed to be behind the cognitive changes many people experience. The Alzheimer’s Association says it’s never too early to begin mental and social activities to benefit brain health. Learning a new skill, a new hobby or formal education can be beneficial. Staying socially active may delay dementia onset.