When it comes to older adults, there are a number of things they need to consider in order to live a healthy lifestyle. One of the main considerations is heart health and the impact it has on their life.
Older adults are at a higher risk of numerous ailments including arthritis, high cholesterol and heart disease. Although there are many aging adults that suffer from heart disease, the truth is that there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of heart disease. There is an old saying that says “prevention is better than a cure”. This is why it’s important to take care of your body in your youth.
According to the National Institute on Aging “People age 65 and older are much more likely than younger people to suffer a heart attack, to have a stroke, or to develop coronary heart disease (commonly called heart disease) and heart failure. Heart disease develops when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, reducing blood flow to your heart muscle. Over time, the heart muscle can become weakened and/or damaged, resulting in heart failure. Heart damage can be caused by heart attacks, long-standing hypertension and diabetes, and chronic heavy alcohol use.”
Whether you’re young or old, you can keep your heart healthy if you put some effort into it. For older adults it may seem difficult, however it is possible. Seniors can adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as eating healthier foods and increasing physical activity in their daily lives. Let’s talk about the different ways older adults can adopt a heart healthy lifestyle:
1. Increase Physical Activity
Incorporating a consistent exercise routine into your life is one of the best ways to keep your body in good shape. Exercise helps to ward off preventable diseases and is also a wonderful way to reduce stress. There are many different exercises and activities that seniors can incorporate into their lives in order to keep their body and heart healthy. Some of the best activities and exercises for seniors include: walking, swimming, tai chi, resistance band workouts, chair yoga, body weight workouts, Pilates and water aerobics.
2. Quit Smoking
According to the CDC, smoking is a major cause of Cardiovascular Disease. “Smoking is also the cause of 1 in 4 deaths from cardiovascular disease. Smoking raises the triglycerides in your blood (triglycerides is a type of fat in your blood), and it also lowers the “good” cholesterol that is in your body.” Although it may not be common knowledge, it is important to note that smoking can also cause blood clots. Your blood is more likely to clot if you are a smoker because smoking makes your blood sticky which in turn can block the flow of blood to your heart and your brain.
3. Make Healthier Food Choices
As an older adult it is important to make healthy food choices. Eating foods that are low-fat, low-salt foods and incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet will make a big difference in your life. Trust me your body will thank you for it!
4. Stress Less
Everyone faces tough times in life and it is no different for seniors. Often times seniors are greatly affected by their family life or lack thereof, health issues or social/economical changes. If they are affected by any or all of these issues they undergo a lot of stress. It’s important for close friends and family to help their aging loved ones cope and manage manage stress in a healthy way. When stress is not properly managed it can lead to heart disease or stroke. There are many healthy outlets for stress relief which include stress management programs, meditation, physical activity, and talking things out with friends or relatives.