25 Activities to Avoid After Turning 75 for a Healthier Life

Aging gracefully involves adapting our lifestyles to maintain health and well-being. After 75, it’s particularly important to be mindful of activities that may pose more risks than rewards.

Here’s a look at activities seniors might consider avoiding or modifying, and learn why they’re not advisable at this stage of life.

1. High-Impact Sports

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Engaging in high-impact sports can significantly increase the risk of orthopedic injuries, such as fractures and ligament tears, which are harder to recover from in older age due to decreased bone density and slower healing processes.

These activities also place a high strain on the cardiovascular system, posing risks for those with heart conditions. Alternatives like swimming, walking, or yoga can provide the benefits of physical activity while minimizing injury risks.

2. Heavy Lifting

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The risk of injury from heavy lifting increases significantly with age due to decreased muscle mass and strength and the vulnerability of the spine and joints to strain and injury.

Such activities can lead to chronic pain and long-term disability, significantly affecting one’s quality of life. Light strength training with appropriate supervision can help maintain muscle tone and bone density without the associated risks of heavy lifting.

3. Prolonged Sun Exposure

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Older skin has reduced thickness and elasticity, making it more susceptible to UV damage, including sunburns, precancerous lesions, and skin cancers.

Additionally, many seniors take medications that can increase sun sensitivity. Limiting sun exposure and using protective measures like sunscreen and clothing can reduce these risks while still allowing for outdoor enjoyment.

4. Smoking

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Smoking exacerbates age-related health declines, significantly impacting respiratory, cardiovascular, and overall health. It accelerates the decline in lung function, increases the risk of chronic diseases, such as COPD and heart disease, and is a leading cause of cancer.

Quitting smoking can lead to immediate and long-term health benefits, including reduced risk of heart attack and improved lung function.

5. Excessive Alcohol Consumption

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Alcohol metabolism changes with age, increasing the susceptibility to its effects. Excessive drinking can worsen chronic illnesses, interact dangerously with medications, and increase the risk of falls, leading to serious injuries.

Moderation is key, and seniors should consult with healthcare providers about safe consumption levels.

6. Ignoring Medical Advice

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As we age, the complexity of health management increases, often involving multiple chronic conditions and medications. Ignoring medical advice can lead to the progression of diseases, decreased functionality, and reduced quality of life.

Adhering to healthcare recommendations, including medication management and lifestyle changes, is crucial for maintaining health and independence.

7. Isolating Socially

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Social isolation and loneliness have been linked to a range of negative health outcomes in seniors, including increased risks of depression, heart disease, and cognitive decline.

Maintaining social connections through family, friends, community activities, or social media can improve mental and emotional well-being.

8. Skipping Vaccinations

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With aging, the immune system’s efficiency in fighting infections declines, making vaccines a critical part of preventive healthcare for seniors.

Vaccinations against flu, pneumonia, and shingles, for example, can prevent serious complications and hospitalizations. Staying up to date with recommended vaccines is essential for protecting health.

9. Extreme Diets

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Nutritional needs change with age, with a focus on nutrient-dense foods to maintain health and manage chronic conditions. Extreme diets can lead to nutritional imbalances, affecting muscle mass, bone health, and energy levels.

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, tailored to individual health needs, is recommended for optimal health.

10. Ignoring Dental Health

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Dental health impacts overall health more than many realize. Issues such as gum disease can lead to or exacerbate heart conditions, and difficulties in chewing can affect nutritional intake, leading to malnutrition or exacerbating chronic conditions like diabetes.

Oral health problems can also cause significant pain, impacting quality of life. Regular dental checkups, proper oral hygiene, and addressing dental issues promptly can prevent these complications.

11. Strenuous Gardening

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Gardening is a beloved activity for many, but it can become physically challenging with age. Tasks like digging, lifting heavy bags of soil, or prolonged bending can lead to back pain, joint stress, and muscle strain.

Moreover, the risk of falls increases when navigating uneven garden terrain. Opting for raised beds, using ergonomic tools, and taking frequent breaks can allow individuals to continue gardening safely.

12. Long Hours of Sitting

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A sedentary lifestyle is particularly detrimental for seniors, contributing to obesity, heart disease, and decreased muscle strength, which can affect balance and mobility.

It also has a negative impact on mental health. Integrating regular movement into daily routines, such as walking or chair exercises, can counteract these effects and improve both physical and mental well-being.

13. Ignoring Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss can lead to social isolation and frustration in communication, and it has been linked to cognitive decline. Many seniors may not acknowledge their hearing loss or delay seeking help due to stigma or the belief that it’s a normal part of aging.

Regular hearing assessments and hearing aids or assistive devices can dramatically improve communication, social engagement, and overall quality of life.

14. Driving Under Poor Conditions

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The ability to drive may be affected by age-related changes in vision, hearing, and reaction time, making driving under poor conditions particularly risky.

Night driving or navigating in rain or snow can increase the likelihood of accidents. Evaluating driving skills regularly, avoiding driving in challenging conditions, and utilizing alternative transportation can enhance safety.

15. Neglecting Skin Care

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Aging skin requires more diligent care as it becomes thinner, less elastic, and more susceptible to damage. Dry skin, sores, and wounds can heal more slowly, increasing the risk of infection.

Regular moisturizing, protection against the sun, and monitoring for skin changes can prevent serious issues and maintain skin health.

16. Unmonitored Medication Use

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Seniors often take multiple medications, increasing the risk of adverse reactions and interactions. Age-related changes can also alter the body’s response to drugs.

Regularly reviewing medications with a healthcare provider ensures that all medicines are still necessary, dosages are correct, and there are no harmful interactions, reducing the risk of side effects and improving overall health.

17. Exposure to Loud Noises

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Prolonged exposure to loud noise can exacerbate hearing loss and potentially harm brain areas involved in processing sound, understanding speech, and maintaining balance.

Avoiding loud environments or using protective ear equipment can preserve hearing and prevent further auditory damage.

18. Skipping Exercise

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Physical activity is crucial for maintaining muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular health, which all contribute to independence and quality of life. Exercise has also been shown to improve mood and cognitive function.

Tailoring exercise to individual abilities and interests, focusing on activities such as walking, tai chi, or water aerobics, can provide these benefits while minimizing the risk of injury.

19. Overlooking Mental Health

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The significance of mental health escalates with age, as older adults may face isolation, loss of loved ones, or chronic health conditions, which can all contribute to depression and anxiety. Furthermore, mental health issues can complicate the management of other health conditions, decrease adherence to medical advice, and diminish the overall quality of life.

Early recognition and treatment of mental health conditions through therapy or medication can dramatically improve an individual’s well-being. Engaging in activities promoting mental health, such as social interaction, physical activity, and hobbies that bring joy and fulfillment, is also beneficial.

20. Ignoring Foot Care

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Foot care is not merely about comfort; it’s about mobility and independence. Common issues like bunions, fungal infections, and diabetic neuropathy can significantly impair mobility and are more difficult to recover from as we age.

Poor foot health can also lead to falls, a leading cause of injury among older adults. Regular foot examinations, properly fitting shoes, and managing underlying health issues like diabetes can prevent foot problems before they start.

21. Disregarding Vision Care

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Vision care is paramount for maintaining independence and quality of life. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration are more prevalent with age and can significantly impair vision.

Regular eye exams can catch these conditions early when they are most treatable.

Good lighting, wearing the correct prescription glasses, and protecting eyes from excessive UV light can help maintain vision health. Furthermore, vision impairment can increase the risk of falls and injuries, making it crucial to address any vision issues promptly.

22. Handling Electrical Repairs

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DIY projects, including electrical repairs, can be risky for older adults due to the physical demands of such tasks and the potential for electrical shock.

Age-related changes, such as decreased muscle strength, balance issues, and cognitive decline, can increase the risk of accidents. Professional assistance not only ensures safety but also guarantees that the work is completed correctly, preventing potential hazards like electrical fires.

23. Climbing Ladders

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Falls are a significant concern for individuals over 75, and activities like climbing ladders dramatically increase this risk. Balance can be less steady, and a fall from even a small height can result in serious injuries, including fractures or head trauma.

Using step stools with handrails to reach slightly elevated areas or asking for help can prevent these risks. For tasks requiring a ladder, employing a professional is a safer alternative.

24. Ignoring Safety in the Home

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Making simple modifications in the home can significantly reduce the risk of falls and injuries. This includes removing tripping hazards, such as rugs and electrical cords, improving lighting, especially in hallways and staircases, and installing grab bars in bathrooms.

Home safety assessments can identify potential risks and provide tailored recommendations to make living spaces safer and more accessible, supporting seniors in maintaining their independence.

25. Undertaking Stressful Travel

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Traveling can be a wonderful experience at any age, but it can become increasingly stressful and physically demanding for those over 75. The stress of long flights, unfamiliar environments, and less accessible medical care can exacerbate existing health conditions or lead to new ones.

Planning less physically demanding trips, ensuring access to medical facilities, and considering travel insurance that covers medical issues can make travel safer and more enjoyable. Opting for destinations that offer relaxation and comfort rather than hectic sightseeing can also provide a more fulfilling experience.

By addressing these aspects of daily life and health management, seniors can significantly enhance their quality of life, maintain independence, and potentially reduce the risk of chronic conditions.

Individuals over 75 need to consult healthcare providers for personalized advice, ensuring any changes in activity or lifestyle take into account their overall health status and medical history.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.