Older Adults’ Guide to Heart Health
As you age, your heart needs to work harder than it did when you were younger. That’s why it’s important for older adults to pay attention to their heart health. There are several ways to keep your heart healthy as you get older: a healthy eating plan, physical activity every day, sleep and stress management techniques, and more.
A healthy eating plan for older adults should include the following:
- Fish, poultry and beans. These are good sources of protein and omega-3 fats. They also provide other nutrients that are important for heart health, such as magnesium (found in fish) and potassium (found in bananas).
- Fruits and vegetables. They contain fiber, vitamins A, C and E as well as potassium – all important for your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends 5 servings per day of fruits or vegetables to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.
- Whole grains like oatmeal or brown rice provide fiber which helps lower cholesterol; they also slow down digestion so you feel full longer so you eat less overall each day which helps with weight control too.
Get enough sleep
You may not think of sleep as an important part of your heart health, but it is. Getting enough sleep is vital for your body to function properly and stay healthy.
In fact, one study found that adults over 50 who slept for six hours or less each night had a higher risk of heart attack than those who got seven hours or more.
It’s also important for seniors to avoid daytime naps as much as possible because these can make it harder for them to fall asleep at night.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, here are some tips on how you can get a good night’s rest:
- Stick with a regular bedtime routine so that your body knows when it’s time to go to bed; this might include taking a bath or reading in bed before turning off the lights
- Turn off electronics an hour before going to sleep—the blue light they emit can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm (your internal clock) by suppressing melatonin production and keeping us awake longer
- Avoid eating too close to bedtime because digestion takes energy away from other processes like sleeping
Be physically active every day
We all know that exercise is an important way to maintain heart health. But do you have trouble getting motivated to be physically active? If so, here are some tips:
- Try doing something you already enjoy. If you like to play golf or tennis, try seeing if there’s a group that plays in your area. If movies are your thing, see if there is a theater nearby that has matinees.
- Set goals for yourself that can be achieved over time as long as you stay consistent with being active. For example, aim to walk around your neighborhood each evening for five minutes longer than last time until eventually it becomes 10 minutes per night for three days a week—and so on
Stay socially connected
Staying socially connected is also an important part of heart health. Social isolation is a risk factor for heart disease and may increase your chances of developing other serious medical conditions, too.
While it’s well-known that social connections are good for your mental health, they can also help you manage stress and maintain a healthy weight. They can even help you stay physically active and live longer.
Manage your stress
Stress can take a toll on your health. It can worsen existing medical conditions, and it even increases the risk of developing certain conditions, such as heart disease. Stress management techniques are ways to control and reduce your stress level. They might include:
- Meditation and yoga
- Deep breathing exercises
- Mindfulness techniques, which involve focusing on the present moment without judging it or worrying about future events
Stress relief activities like these help you relax and unwind after a stressful situation. They’re also good for taking your mind off worries that might be affecting you in other ways, too. You’ll want to find an activity that works for you—whether it’s something relaxing like listening to music or playing with pets, or something more active like going for walks outside or doing art projects at home.
Don’t smoke (and stay away from secondhand smoke)
Smoking is bad for your health. It’s linked to heart disease and stroke, and also cancer. Secondhand smoke has similar effects on the cardiovascular system and can cause lung cancer, as well as increase the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma for non-smokers who are exposed to it.
So, if you’re a smoker, quit now. If you’re not a smoker but have been exposed to secondhand smoke in your home or at work (or elsewhere), talk with your doctor about how you can reduce your exposure—and don’t let anyone light up around you
As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do to maintain heart health. While some may seem like common sense (like eating well and exercising), others may not seem so intuitive (such as avoiding stress). But if you want to stay healthy later in life, it’s important that you take care of yourself now.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The content of this Website or Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website or Blog.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care.