Recent Blog Articles

Healthy Aging Archive


Harvard study: Even weekend warriors achieve heart benefits

A 2023 Harvard study found that regularly squeezing a week's worth of exercise (150 minutes) into just one or two days—a "weekend warrior" approach—is linked to the same heart-healthy benefits as daily exercise.

Ways to maximize your energy

People's energy levels typically decrease later in life as a result of aging, illness, or other factors. Fortunately, a healthier lifestyle can boost energy. That involves eating a diet low in added sugars and processed foods, getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night, managing stress, getting lots of aerobic exercise, and strengthening the muscles. Using physical energy frugally is another useful strategy. For example, it helps to perform activities at a slow, steady pace instead of a fast pace; to break activities into small tasks instead of one large job; and to rest between tasks.

Hidden causes of weight gain

The reason for weight gain isn't always as obvious as inactivity or a poor diet. Weight gain can stem from many other causes. For example, it might reflect age-related physiological changes such as muscle loss, poor sleep, or changes in sex hormone levels; underlying conditions such as diabetes or sleep apnea; side effects from taking certain medications, such as antidepressants or beta blockers; or possibly the effects of eating late at night or the makeup of gut bacteria. Recent or excessive weight gain warrants a visit to a doctor to help pinpoint the issue.

For mellow movement that helps your heart, try tai chi

Tai chi is a gentle, adaptable practice that features flowing movements combined with breathing and cognitive focus. It may be especially helpful for people who are recovering from a heart attack or other medical problems or who have heart failure. Tai chi also can be a gateway to other types of physical activity because the practice may improve balance, reduce the risk of falls, and even help ease lower back pain—a common reason for avoiding exercise.

Is sex hormone therapy safe for your heart?

The age-related drop in sex hormone levels can cause undesirable symptoms such as hot flashes or a flagging sex drive. Various formulations of estrogen or testosterone can ease those symptoms, but hormone therapy has a mixed record when it comes to cardiovascular safety. A 2023 study suggests that testosterone therapy is safe for men at high risk for heart disease. But women at high risk for heart disease But women at high risk for heart disease considering estrogen-based therapy need to balance menopausal symptom severity versus the greater chance of an adverse cardiovascular problem.

No bones about it

While the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis most often strikes women, about 6% of men ages 65 and older have it. Preventing osteoporosis and treating it if it occurs focuses on stopping or at least slowing bone loss. The main ways to do this are maintaining proper calcium and vitamin D levels and engaging in weight-bearing activities and exercises that help build muscle and improve balance. Raising low testosterone levels or taking a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates also may help.

An inside look at body fat

As men age, their metabolism naturally slows, and they burn calories more slowly. They can be less active and consume extra calories. The result is a buildup of visceral fat inside the abdominal cavity and around vital organs. This can raise heart disease risk factors, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and total cholesterol levels. The best way to fight visceral fat is with aerobic exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein.

Mastering memory maintenance

Memory loss is a pervasive worry. Dementia will affect an estimated nine million Americans by 2030 and 12 million by 2040. A 2023 study suggests six healthy lifestyle factors can significantly slow memory decline: eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, not drinking alcohol, being socially active, and engaging in brain-challenging activities. Another 2023 study suggests regular Internet use may be linked to a lower risk of dementia.

Can you feel younger than your age?

Research has found that people with more positive attitudes about growing old tend to live longer than those with negative thoughts about aging. They also have a lower risk for diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart disease and better cognitive functioning. People can maintain a healthy mindset about aging by adopting certain lifestyle habits, such as reducing anxiety, finding purpose in life, seeking challenges, socializing more, and rejecting negative stereotypes about aging.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.