As we age, taking care of our bodies means not just extending our days but making the most out of our days, too. Taking a few simple steps to protect your heart can lead to a better quality of life and more special moments with your loved ones. Here are four heart-healthy living tips to keep you on track.
Watch What Goes In
Diet plays a huge part in whole-body health, and what we consume has a direct effect on how much we’re asking our heart to do. Seniors should aim for a diet high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and rich with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. In other words, eat the rainbow! If you’re looking for more specifics, the USDA MyPlate project offers helpful benchmarks for seniors’ nutrition. Equally important to eating wholesome foods, seniors should limit alcohol consumption – the NIA recommends no more than one drink a day for women and two for men – and quit all forms of smoking. Both habits raise our risk of heart disease and heart attack. Filling up our bodies with nutritious foods and plenty of water instead will lead to better days for ourselves and our loved ones.
Move Your Body
How do you like to move your body? Whether it’s meeting up with a friend for a brisk morning walk or spinning your way through evening ballroom dance classes with your spouse – keep doing it! Exercising regularly works to lower our risk of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, putting less strain on our heart. The best part is: exercise can look however you choose! Besides walking and dancing, bowling, cycling, gardening, and pickleball can all be great exercise options for seniors. However you want to do it, the USDA recommends aiming for 150 minutes of movement per week. Incorporating the right level of activity into your day and into your week will keep your heart humming and bring all kinds of benefits to your health.
Shed Your Stress
Consciously managing stress plays an important role in keeping our blood pressure under control and avoiding heart conditions and cardiac events. Seniors experiencing high levels of stress will do their heart a huge favor by finding appropriate relief – whether that means talking to a licensed therapist or doctor, or simply chatting through issues with a loved one. Pinpointing the source of stress can often help us to take the appropriate steps to change things. If we’re eating a balanced diet (including managing our caffeine intake) and exercising regularly, we’re already well on the way to lowering our stress levels.
Protect Your Sleep
Most of us wish we had more hours in the day, but doing right by our heart means not stealing those hours from our sleep. Why is that? Adults regularly getting less than 7 hours of sleep are at higher risk of heart disease and heart attack. Among its many benefits, sleeping works to decrease our blood pressure. On the other hand, when we get less sleep, our blood pressure stays higher overnight, and higher blood pressure means increased risk. For senior health, sleeping well becomes especially important. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, consciously limiting our screen time before bed, and making sure we have a cool, dark, quiet room for sleep are all great ways to ensure we’re getting enough quality rest and taking good care of our heart.
Through our Crafted Culinary cornerstone and our emphasis on heart-happy activities, Ebenezer is working to protect the health of our wonderful residents. Visit our Programs & Services page to learn more, and make sure to check in on our blog for additional health and fitness tips.