Visiting Angels, Punta Gorda Blog

Heart Healthy Habits for Seniors

Nutritional foods for heart healthThe American Heart Association wants everyone to live a longer, healthier life so that they can enjoy more of life’s precious moments. As with most diseases, older adults have a greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, simply due to age. The heart is, after all, a muscle, and undergoes change with age.

According to the American Heart Association, on average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. 23.4 million of US adults are estimated to have been diagnosed with diabetes. 85.7 million of US adults are estimated to have hypertension. Taking care of one’s heart and living a heart-healthy lifestyle has never been more important than today. Here are a few ways to help keep your heart healthy as you age.

Fit Fitness into Your Day

We all know that there are many benefits to exercising. From increased energy levels to decreased risk of chronic disease, exercising helps with weight loss, improves moods, and even helps maintain a healthy brain. More importantly, a consistent exercise regime is vital for maintaining a healthy heart as seniors age. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to improve overall cardiovascular health. If you’re a senior and don’t know where to start, start by having a conversation with your doctor to determine what exercise routine is best for you.

In order to remain consistent in achieving your exercise goals, find an accountability partner. Sign up for a senior fitness class at your local senior center or arrange to meet a friend for a walk around the neighborhood. For more tech-savvy seniors, consider downloading an app or wearing a fitness monitor to track your movement throughout the day. Many apps and fitness monitors alert you when you have been sedentary for too long so that you can get up and walk around the house for a few minutes.

Munch on a Heart-Healthy Diet

You may have heard the term “heart-healthy diet” thrown about on various morning news shows or even seen a menu that labels “heart-healthy” entrees. But what exactly is a heart-healthy diet? A heart-healthy diet consists of mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, while limiting saturated fats, salt, and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty meats. The worst foods for your heart include red meat, pizza, double cheeseburgers, breaded chicken, and sausage. When eaten in moderation, you can still enjoy a slice of pizza or a juicy hamburger. But, if these foods are a regular part of your menu, it may be time to try some healthier options. Instead of a juicy hamburger, opt for a black-bean or turkey burger. Fill up on salad before diving into the pizza box. Consider your portion sizes and fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables instead of meat and carbohydrates.

Learn to Manage Stress

Stress can compound many heart disease risks that seniors already face, steering them towards an unhealthy lifestyle. For some seniors, stress results in binge eating junk food and while sitting in front of the television for most of the day. For others, stress may lead them to withdraw from social engagements, leaving them feeling isolated or ignored. The leading causes of stress for seniors include financial hardship, physical decline, health cost, neglect or abuse from caregivers, and the death of close friends and family. No matter what stage of life, stress is unavoidable. However, finding ways to reduce stress or cope with the hardships you face reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. There are many coping strategies to help seniors manage stress, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, drinking a calming tea, or engaging in a hobby. Simply talking about what’s causing your stress and working through the stressful situation can also reduce the stress you are facing.

Whether you want to add fitness into your daily routine, need to make dietary changes, or want to learn healthy coping strategies to help you manage stress, Visiting Angels Punta Gorda is here to help. Our senior home care services include a walking aid, so that you can take a safe stroll around the neighborhood, getting the exercise you need. We can assist with meal preparation to ensure that you receive a well-balanced diet. We can even help alleviate the stress of caring for an aging loved one and offer companion care services so that your loved one has someone to engage with when you aren’t available. No matter which senior home care services you choose for us to provide, know that you can count on our commitment to you to remain the same. To learn more about how we can help you or your aging loved one maintain a healthy heart, contact us today by calling 941-347-8288 Punta Gorda or 239-226-1620 Lee County.

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