4 Heart-Healthy Tips for Seniors
Throughout decades of life, we love many people. But how often do we love ourselves and appreciate our own heart? In honor of February being American Heart Month, we want to share some heart-healthy tips.
Seniors are more likely to experience heart attacks, strokes, and coronary heart disease compared to younger people. Heart disease can lead to decreased activity, disabilities, and a lower quality of life. However, heart disease can be prevented or lessened with healthy living habits. Taking care of your heart is easier than you think.
Let’s take a look at four heart-healthy tips for seniors.
Get Some Moderate Exercise
This first tip on how seniors can improve their heart health is getting exercise. Before you think you must become an Olympic athlete to have a healthy heart, simply take a walk around the block. Getting some brisk movement throughout the week is a healthy way to take care of your heart. Try activities like walking, dancing, or doing yoga. Many community centers and senior living communities offer a variety of exercise classes geared toward seniors.
Movement and exercise may help you lose or maintain weight, improve your well-being, strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system, and lessen your chances of heart disease.
Eat Healthful Foods
Doctors tend to harp on what foods not to eat when you’re trying to prevent heart disease: salt, sugar, and alcohol. But what foods should you eat instead? Unprocessed foods and foods high in fiber and low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat should make up the bulk of your diet.
If this change feels intimidating, start adding foods like fresh fruit, oatmeal, avocado toast, and berry smoothies to your daily meals. (Even dark chocolate is good for your heart!) Pretty soon, your body will crave more of these types of foods, and you’ll naturally eat more of them—and less of the not-so-heart-healthy foods.
Avoid Harmful Substances
Alcohol and drugs can cause cardiovascular disease and serious deterioration to your heart and blood vessels. Enjoying a glass of wine at night or a cocktail during a holiday party is okay. But overconsuming alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, brain hemorrhages, and other cardiovascular conditions.
When it comes to drugs, you may think you’re in the clear if you’re not “doing drugs” like cocaine and amphetamines. Yet some prescription drugs—especially pain-relieving opioids—can have negative effects on your cardiovascular system over time or when combined with other substances. Be sure to check with your doctor.
And don’t forget about smoking. High-volume or frequent smoking can have adverse effects on your arteries and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Here’s another angle to consider: High stress and poor-quality sleep or a lack of sleep can increase your chances of developing heart disease. These situations can cause us to turn toward alcohol and other substances to “take off the edge” or get through the day. But you should work on improving the root problem before you pile on more.
Keep Up with Regular Wellness Visits
Even if you improve every single possible facet of your life to live a more heart-healthy lifestyle, you still need to regularly visit your physician. This is one of the most important heart health tips for seniors. Keeping up with doctor’s appointments will ensure a variety of things: you’ll know your risk factors in developing heart disease; medications can be adjusted as needed; your heart-healthy goals are attainable and on track; and many other things that will keep your heart and entire body healthy.
Regular check-ups are also the time to discuss anything that has been worrying you throughout the year. Your doctor can help you resolve your issue or formulate a plan to address it. Even if it’s something completely unrelated to your cardiovascular system, there’s a chance that not addressing what’s been bothering you will later turn into a cardiovascular issue. (Of course, if you’re very concerned during the year, get medical attention right away. Don’t wait for a scheduled visit.)
Get the Stress-Free Care You Need
We know how hard it can be to keep up with our heart health as we age. At Generations Senior Living, we provide a variety of ways for our residents to stay active, healthy, and happy. From hosting a variety of health and wellness activities and programs to offering delicious and nutritious meals, our residents enjoy this stress-free approach to heart health. We also provide access to a wide network of medical care providers, so our residents receive the exceptional care needed to stay healthy and well.