February is the month of love, and nothing says love like taking good care of your heart. No wonder folks all around the country celebrate American Heart Month in February each year. You can wear red to show your support, but taking action is the best way you can get involved. This is especially important if you’re a senior because adults 65 or older are a lot more likely to experience a sudden heart attack, a stroke, or develop long-term heart disease.
Every senior knows that things don’t seem to work as well as you age, and that includes your heart. The muscle weakens and can’t beat as fast as when you’re exercising or stressed. Fat builds up in your arteries, or the arterial walls stiffen, increasing blood pressure and reducing vital oxygen flow. Taking action to combat these issues will improve your health, give you more energy, and boost your self-confidence.
With all that in mind, here are 7 heart-healthy habits every senior should embrace.
Here are nine reasons why family members should not take on the burden of care alone.
1. Watch what you eat.
You know this, but are you doing it? Your heart wants you to eat nutritious foods that are low in calories. No need to suffer! We’re talking about low-fat dairy products and meats, nuts, and other high-fiber foods such as whole grains. Add plenty of fruits and veggies to your diet. Did you know the most colorful ones are also the most nutritious? Cut back on sugary foods and beverages and alcohol.
2. Watch your weight.
Extra weight puts more pressure on your heart and all your other internal systems, too. It increases the risk of diabetes and cancer. Reaching and maintaining a stable weight in the range that is considered ideal for your age and body type is a lot easier when you follow Tip #1 above. It’s also a lot easier if you follow our next tip . . .
Even modest exercise such as walking and gardening is good for you. It’s even better and more fun to pick up the pace with dancing or biking. For those in their 60s or older, doctors recommend 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. You don’t have to do it all at once!
Stress is worse than uncomfortable, it’s dangerous. Chronic stress can damage your heart, your immune system, and your memory. It increases your blood pressure and risk of depression. Add some relaxation techniques to your day which will give your heart and mind a valuable rest.
Deliberately relaxing with yoga, meditation, etc. benefits your mind, body and spirit. But you need real sleep, too – 7 to 9 hours a night if you’re a senior. Sound sleep refreshes your brain and body, whereas lack of sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
6. Stop smoking!
You know better, and there are so many ways to get help. Smoking doesn’t only damage your lungs, it inhibits your circulation. You can do this!
7. Listen to your doc.
If you already have a chronic health condition, make an extra effort to follow doctor’s orders. Skipping or skimping on medications, exercise, self-care, or check-ups will only make things worse.
Heart Smart at Any Age
Heart healthiness should be a focus at any age, and the sooner you adopt good habits, the more you are doing to ensure a healthy future. Adult children and grandkids can partner with their beloved seniors (even remotely), learning together and encouraging one another toward maximum heart health.
Senior Wellness at Magnolia Manor
At Magnolia Manor, we focus on the overall well-being of seniors. Our residents thrive with the opportunities we provide for them to participate in physical, social, and spiritual activities. If you’d like to learn more about senior wellness at any of our nine campuses in south Georgia, contact us at 1-855-540-LIFE.