February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of heart health and to encourage individuals to take proactive steps to improve their cardiovascular health. As we age, the risk of heart disease increases, making it even more critical for seniors to prioritize heart health. According to the National Institute on Aging, people age 65 and older are more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or to develop coronary artery disease and heart failure. However, by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet and effective stress management, seniors can strengthen their heart health and elevate their overall quality of life.
Here are ten steps seniors can take to stay heart-healthy in 2023.
- Exercise regularly
Physical activity is a key a factor in maintaining a healthy heart. Seniors should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, five days a week. Strength training and stretching exercises can also help improve cardiovascular health and increase mobility.
Heart-Healthy Tip: Maximizer your fitness efforts by utilizing tracking tools to monitor your activity. Keeping a written record of your exercise goals and achievements in a fitness journal, marking them on a calendar, or utilizing apps like MyFitnessPal to track your exercise regimen and calories burned are all effective methods to stay on track.
- Follow a heart-healthy diet
A diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating a variety of foods from all food groups is important to ensure adequate nutrient intake. Additionally, drinking plenty of water and limiting your intake of salt, added sugars, and saturated and trans fats can also help maintain a healthy heart. It is recommended to seek the advice of a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to create a personalized dietary plan that meets your specific needs and health goals.
- Quit smoking
Smoking is one of the most significant contributors to the development of heart disease and stroke. It increases the risk of various heart-related health problems and can cause severe damage to the cardiovascular system. Quitting smoking can help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, reduce stress on the heart, and reduce the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.
- Manage stress
Stress can have a negative impact on heart health. Seniors should strive to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation or spending time with friends and family.
- Control blood pressure
High blood pressure is critical risk factor for heart disease and stoke. It places unnecessary stress on the heart and can damage blood vessels over time, increasing the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. Regular monitoring of blood pressure and taking steps to keep it within a healthy range is crucial in reducing the risk of heart disease. It’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized plan for managing blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. Regular monitoring, along with proactive steps to keep blood pressure in a healthy range, can help ensure optimal heart health for years to come.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese can have serious implications for heart heath. It can increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke, as well as other health problems such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Seniors, in particular, should aim to maintain a healthy weight as they age to reduce these risk.
- Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can have a significant impact on heart health, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Seniors should aim to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Quality sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy heart, as it allows the body to rest and recharge, reducing stress on the heart and blood vessels. Additionally, during sleep, the body produces hormones that regulate metabolism, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, all of which can impact heart health.
- Limit alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of heart disease. Seniors should limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The National Institute on Aging states that one drink is equal to:
- One 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer, ale, or wine cooler
- One 8- or 9-ounce can or bottle of malt liquor
- One 5-ounce glass of red or white wine
- One 1.5-ounce shot glass of distilled spirits like gin, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey
- Take medication as prescribed
If prescribed medication to manage heart health, it is critical to follow the directions of a healthcare provider. Medication is often a crucial component in managing heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Stay socially active
Social isolation can have a negative impact on heart health. Seniors should strive to stay socially active through activities such as volunteering, joining clubs, or spending time with friends and family.
Maintaining a healthy heart is essential for seniors to enjoy a high quality of life. By following these 10 tips, seniors can reduce their risk of heart disease and improve their total body wellness. Remember, February is American Heart Month, so take the time to focus on your heart health and make positive changes for a healthier future.
Senior Financial Group can help you prepare for any possibility.
At Senior Financial Group, we offer several products that help eliminate the loss associated with cardiac ailments. Our Critical Illness plans provide coverage designed to pay medical deductibles and co-pays, out-of-network and experimental treatment, household expenses, lost income, assisted living or nursing home care costs, and more. These are flexible plans that allow you to choose:
- between Comprehensive Care, Cardiac Care, or Cancer care,
- your monthly base benefit,
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Contact us at 865-777-0153 if you would like to hear more about the competitive Critical Illness and Cancer Insurance plans we offer from reputable companies like GTL (Guarantee Trust Life), Mutual of Omaha, and more!
For more on American Heart Month, visit the American Heart Association.
Want to learn more about Cancer, Heart Attack and Stroke health insurance plans? Click here.