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Here’s what you can do at any age, from Australia's trusted, straight-talking doctor and broadcaster Dr Norman Swan.


Your 60s, 70s – or indeed 80s or 90s

  • Keep eating a very diverse diet … Don’t allow it to become narrowed down because you can’t be bothered. Really focus on a varied, Mediterranean dietary pattern.

  • Exercise with lots of muscle strengthening. Strong muscles are critical for slowing down the path to frailty and maybe even avoiding it altogether.

  • Most cancer screening programs stop in your 70s. That’s because the clinical trials didn’t include people over 70. It doesn’t mean that cancer screening stops being useful. It may even have better pay-offs for individuals since cancer becomes more common as you age. You don’t want unnecessarily intrusive treatment for a cancer that’s been diagnosed late when it could have been found early. Public health people talk about populations and years of life gained for the investment in a screening program. Obviously, there are large numbers of years to be gained when a 50-year-old is diagnosed rather than a 75-year-old. But that doesn’t take account of the benefits for an individual, assuming the treatment isn’t more risky than the cancer. Take your GP’s advice on this but let me tell you, I’m not stopping cancer screening.

  • Immunisations such as pneumococcal and shingles are also important.

  • Learning a new and complex skill like playing a musical instrument or a language deepens the neural networks in your brain.

  • Focus on your circadian rhythm and getting a consolidated night’s sleep, even if it’s not as long as you’d like.

  • Work on ways to broaden your group of friends. Social networks are an important part of staying young.

  • So You Want To Live Younger Longer? - Norman Swan

    The ultimate guide on what you can do at any age to stay young and healthy longer, from Australia's trusted, straight-talking doctor and broadcaster, Dr Norman Swan, bestselling author of So You Think You Know What's Good for You?

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