Living life to the fullest requires taking care of yourself, no matter how old you are. Check out these tips for maintaining heart health as a senior.
1. Eat more nutrient-rich foods
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that both muscle mass and physical activity may be reduced as individuals age, which means seniors often burn less calories than they did when younger. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for good heart health, and that could require reducing your calorie intake in later years.
But nutrients are still important — for the health of your heart and your entire body. The NIDDK recommends filling your diet with healthy, nutrient-dense foods.
That doesn't mean saying no to every slice of cake or piece of chocolate that comes your way, but it does mean balancing each day with more lean meats, fruits and veggies.
2. Get moving as much as you can
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that heart disease isn't something limited to those who reach older ages — a variety of factors can lead to heart conditions for people at all ages. The CDC notes that staying active is a critical part of maintaining a healthy heart and recommends being active for at least 150 minutes each week.
You don't have to jog around your assisted living community or engage in gym-style weight training to stay active. Enjoying a 15-minute brisk walk in the morning and evening each day can help you get your 150 minutes in — and you can enjoy more activity as you're able.
Remember to consult with your doctor before embarking on any new exercise routines — even if it's small to start.
3. Stop smoking (or don't start)
The CDC also notes that smoking is one of the leading causes of chronic conditions and death in the United States and advises against it. Avoid starting a smoking habit as a senior, and if you already have one, consider talking to your medical provider or assisted living community staff about support for quitting.
4. Maintain your blood pressure
High blood pressure is both a sign of cardiovascular disease and a possible cause for heart trouble. Consistently high blood pressure can lead to other health problems, too, so it's important to manage your blood pressure with every day changes and, if required, medication and other therapies.
The American Heart Association provides information about making daily changes that matter, such as limiting alcohol, eating healthy, managing stress and taking medications appropriately.
5. Stay educated about your health
Understanding your risks for heart disease and how to best approach daily health for yourself is essential, and being in the know about any condition you have can alleviate anxiety and stress. Work closely with your medical providers to understand your own health condition, medications and any action you can take to keep yourself as healthy as possible.
One of the benefits of an assisted living community is that you're able to rely on caring, knowledgeable staff to help you with questions or concerns about any health condition. Reach out to that staff for help understanding your condition, maintaining your diet or finding fun ways to increase your activity.
Posted on Fri, June 1, 2018
by Shawn Deane