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A man in your 70s? What you need to do now for your overall health

In this decade you need to be aware of muscle wastage, bone health and mental wellbeing

Our bodies, and our minds change as we go through life. Every decade brings its own physical and mental needs and challenges. So how do we make the most of each one? Áilín Quinlan talks to the experts about the big issues for men in their 70s.


Inflamm-aging is a big issue for men as well as women at this stage of life:

"This is where the immune system is producing excessive inflammatory proteins which put a man at increased risk of muscle wastage, making him more susceptible to fractures and falls," explains consultant nutritionist Gaye Godkin.

Here’s What You Need:


Ensure that half your plate is made up of fruit and vegetables at breakfast lunch and dinner, she advises.

“Eat feta cheese and cottage cheese, both of which contribute to improved muscle strength as well as tinned sardines, salmon and mackerel.

“Eat fresh fish and vegetable soups, all of which are good for muscle health and act as anti-inflammatories in the body.”

Digestion can often become a problem as we age, so Godkin recommends eating lots of soups, stews and casseroles.

“The body’s ability to digest becomes impaired as we get older, and these meals are more digestible. This is because the cooking process breaks down the large proteins and the nutrients are more easily absorbed.

“Other foods like this include porridge, mashed potatoes, rice, and natural yogurts, all of which, as Godkin points out, are easily digestible and provide energy.”

Potential health issues worth considering:

“Osteoporosis is a big issue here,” says Cork GP and lifestyle medicine expert Dr Fiona O’Reilly, adding that while symptoms may be bone pain and loss of height, this condition can often be silent until a man sustains a fracture from a fall.

“Discuss the possibility of osteoporosis with your GP and have a Dexa scan carried out as a routine check,” Dr O’Reilly urges.

“At this age, men should request blood tests to determine their iron levels, vitamin B12 and thyroid functions, because all of these issue can impact on brain and nerve function.”

Another big issue for men in this age group is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which causes severe breathlessness and reoccurring chest infections.

“It’s usually caused by smoking or second-hand smoke when these men were younger and not known to be such a health hazard as now.

“If you have a persisting cough or breathlessness, your GP can prescribe very effective inhalers and treat infections or refer you onwards for specialist help.”

Men in their seventies need to have their medication reviewed as it may no longer be suited to their needs, emphasises Dr O’Reilly, who says that very often loneliness is an issue for men during this period, and as with women, it’s important both to have a good social circle around you and to look after your physical health.


It's important for men in their seventies to maintain their physical fitness and stay agile, says Dr Brian Higgins, GP and TV3 in-house doctor.

“This is very much about the intensity of the exercise. It’s important to get your heart rate up,” he says, adding that a leisurely stroll or a round of golf doesn’t cut it in terms of heart health.

“You need to incorporate 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, during which you are slightly out of breath, into your daily routine to get the benefits of exercise.”

Mental wellbeing

For men, as for women in this age group, warns Dr Harry Barry GP, mental health specialist and best-selling author, a significant problem can be the fallout of bereavement allied with the loss of offspring who have moved away.

“Men can really struggle when a spouse or partner dies because many lack the domestic skills and desperately need the emotional nurturing that women give.

“They can become isolated,” he says, adding that, if you haven’t already done so, now is to time to make the effort to join interest groups and expand your social the social circle.

“Also, be very careful not to use alcohol as a crutch during this phase,” he warns adding that overconsumption can negatively impact on a man’s mental health.

Tip for Making the Most of Your Decade

Eat a natural yoghurt every day, advises Gaye Godkin. “It’s good for the digestion, the immune system, for your muscle strength and bone health and is very easily digested.”

Health & Fitness advice through the Decades
- Women in their 20s
- Men in their 20s
- Women in their 30s
- Men in their 30s
- Women in their 40s
- Men in their 40s
- Women in their 50s
- Men in their 50s
- Women in their 60s
- Men in their 60s

- Women in their 70s
- Men in their 70s

- Women in their 80s
- Men in their 80s