February is American Heart Month and no better time to consider a lifestyle that promotes heart health and longevity. Heart health is important at any age, and even more so as you get older. You can never have a heart that is too healthy or too strong. Consider these 7 tips for senior heart health.
Heart Health in Older Adults
Yours is the only heart you have, so let’s keep it working in top condition. Get started with these 7 tips for a heart-healthier you:
- Keep Active It is extremely to your heart health to exercise regularly. Consult with your physician for suggested activities, but make 30 minutes of activity at a moderate intensity your daily goal. The 30 minutes can be broken up into 3 10 periods throughout the day. When you are not exercising, avoid long periods of sitting in place. Keep moving! If you are in an assisted living facility, take advantage of the equipment and activities they have available for you.
- Quit Smoking If you are a smoker at any age, the best thing you can do for your heart is to stop now. Smoking damages your artery walls and increases your chances for heart disease and cancer.
- Eat Well Eat a balanced diet of low-fat and low-sodium foods. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables and foods that are high in fiber. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men.
- Manage Your Weight Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated using your height and weight. A BMI of 25 or greater indicates a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other health risks. Combining a heart-healthy diet with a regular exercise routine is your best way to manage your weight.
- Control Your Cholesterol Excess cholesterol in your blood could lead to heart disease. Work with your doctor to determine what your risk is and a plan to manage it well. Medication can be prescribed but is not always necessary.
- Monitor Your Blood Pressure High blood pressure is known as a silent killer. It is symptomless and many do not realize they have it until it is too late. It silently damages your blood vessels leading to significant threats to your health. The first important thing is to keep track of your numbers. If medication is needed, make sure you take them properly. In addition, keep active, eat well, manage your weight, and limit your alcohol use as described above.
- Lower your Blood Sugar Diabetes is another major threat to the health of many seniors. Making healthy lifestyle changes can help prevent and control both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Managing your weight, eating well, and keeping active as mentioned above are great examples. However, if you already have diabetes, these lifestyle changes may need to be accompanied with medication. Consult with your primary care physician for a plan to manage your blood sugar.
Keep Your Heart Strong
Keeping a strong and healthy heart is key to enjoying your best lifestyle throughout your life. Heart health in older adults is even more critical. Get started with these tips for a heart-healthier you. Unlimited Care Cottages is your resource for senior quality of life and assisted living. Contact Us to learn more about heart health in older adults or for a tour of one of our cottages.