Four Habits Every Older Adult Should Adopt to Improve Their Heart Health
Each year, one in every four deaths are a result of heart disease. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the leading cause of death for both men and women is heart disease. Similar to every other part of the human body, the cardiovascular system changes with age. Blood vessels and arteries stiffen, causing the heart to work even harder in order to pump blood throughout the body. If left unchecked, older adults increase their risk for cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
Fortunately, heart disease can be prevented. Making healthy lifestyle choices can help many older adults lower their risk of heart disease or prevent it altogether. As we celebrate American Heart Month this February, here are four habits every older adult should adopt in order to improve their heart health.
Move Every Day
Many older adults are aware of the health benefits of exercising, yet most continue to live a sedentary lifestyle. Improve your heart health this month by committing to move every day. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to improve overall cardiovascular health. Before starting a new exercise routine, talk with your doctor about what’s best for you. Then, find ways to incorporate more movement throughout your day. A consistent exercise routine is vital for maintaining a healthy heart.
Eat Foods that Support Your Heart Health
Another area many older adults struggle with in regards to their heart health is nutrition. Yet, studies consistently show that eating a heart-healthy diet helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Adopt the habit this month to eat foods that will support your heart health. The best diet for preventing heart disease is one that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils. Older adults should limit their intake of processed foods, red meat, saturated fats, sodium, added sugar, and alcohol. They should also evaluate their portion sizes and fill half their plates with fruits or vegetables.
Learn Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Stress is inevitable and unavoidable. However, how older adults cope with stress could make the difference between life or death. Stress compounds many heart disease risks that older adults already face. Older adults that don’t cope with stress in healthy ways experience higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, putting them at a greater risk for heart attack or stroke. Instead of coping with stress in unhealthy ways, improve your heart health by learning to cope with stress in healthy ways. Try yoga or meditation. Drink calming tea or engage in a hobby. Download a stress management app on your smart device to guide you to a calmer version of yourself.
Take Control of What You Can Control
There are a few heart disease risk factors that older adults cannot change, such as age, gender, ethnicity, and family history. However, there are more risk factors that older adults can control in order to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease. Improve your heart health by taking control of what is within your control. Just as you are in control of what you eat and how often you exercise, you are also in control of other risk factors for heart disease. If you are overweight, choose to lose a few pounds. If you smoke, choose to kick the habit this month. If you haven’t been prioritizing your sleep, aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Choose to view yourself as a person who takes care of their heart and these habits will fall into place.
One last habit you can adopt in order to improve your heart health is to partner with Visiting Angels South Elgin. We are here to help older adults who need some assistance in order to maintain their independence at home. Our compassionate caregivers can be your cheerleader as you choose to put your health first. We can help you go for a walk around your neighborhood so you get the exercise that you need. We can also help with meal planning and preparation, so that you have healthy meals to eat throughout the week. To learn more, please contact us today by calling 847-429-0100.