Simple health steps for women in their 60s and upwards
Reaching her 60s is a great time for a woman to take stock of her health and take more steps towards a long and healthy life.
As well as physical health, pay attention to cognitive function and try to stay mentally alert and stimulated. That means keeping your brain busy. Consider reading more, doing crossword puzzles, socialising, trying new hobbies or learning a new language.
Strength training: It's never too late to start.
In your 60s, you may think the heaviest thing you should lift is the TV remote. Not true! We inevitably lose bone mass and flexibility with age. But regular strength training, with an OK from your doctor, can keep you on your toes, prevent muscles from atrophying (wasting), and help you avoid falls and other accidents.
There's still time to stop!
If you've been trying for years to give up a heart-unhealthy habit such as smoking or drinking to excess, don't assume that the damage has already been done. It has -- but you can repair or avoid some of it if you stop now. Studies have found that people who stop smoking at age 65 add almost two years to their lives. It also reduces the risk of heart disease and lung cancer.
Don't forget key screening tests.
Talk to your GP about whether you are at particular risk of osteoporosis and whether you should have a bone density scan. You might also want to ask about risks of diabetes and whether your blood sugar levels should be checked. You'll probably hear a lot about annual flu jabs, but don't forget the pneumonia vaccination, which you should get at 65 if you have not had one before. Women between 50 and 70 will be invited for a mammogram every three years (this is being extended by the NHS to include women aged 47 – 73 years old). Take up the invitation to have a smear test when invited. Men and women aged 60-69 are also invited to have bowel cancer screening.