Though the risk of heart disease may increase with age, it doesn’t mean that seniors need to slow down: by making a few simple and consistent lifestyle changes, you can improve your heart health and lessen the chance for future complications. To boost your wellness, try incorporating these ten healthy heart tips into your daily routine.
1. Understand Your Medical History
Pre-existing conditions and medical history can have a profound impact on the way we maintain our health for the future. Understanding these predispositions and their effects past the age of 65 can help us create a heart health plan specific to an individual’s needs.
2. Reduce Alcohol Intake
While it’s not necessary to quit drinking alcohol entirely, the amount and type of liquor consumed should follow suit with a few important guidelines. You might have heard that drinking a glass of red wine is good for your body, but research shows that there’s not always a direct correlation. As a rule of thumb, practice moderation with all alcoholic beverages (i.e., one drink per day) and consider replacing additional alcoholic beverages with water to stay well-hydrated.
3. Minimize Stress
High stress is known to impact multiple factors linked to heart disease, like high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels. Practicing meditation, seeking counseling, identifying calming hobbies, or physical exercise can all be leveraged to reduce stress.
4. Add Color to Diet
What’s one of the best—but also easiest—healthy heart tips? Diversifying your diet. For seniors, it’s important to avoid processed foods, eat a variety of vegetables, focus on consuming lean protein, and drink plenty of water. You don’t have to change your diet overnight, but making small, consistent changes over time (like reaching for carrots instead of chips), can make a big difference.
For more help incorporating healthy foods in your daily diet, check out our blog post: 5 Superfoods for Seniors, Plus Recipes to Put Them In.
5. Regular Sleeping Habits
The hours we spend in bed are opportunities for the body to recoup, rest, and get ready for the next day. Getting good, quality sleep is essential for minimizing risk for both cardiovascular and heart disease. Fixing our bedtime habits can be as simple as setting up a routine and talking with a doctor about potential support or medication.
For a deep dive, read 8 Ways for Seniors to Get Better Sleep.
6. Monitor Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a vital part of heart health, and making sure appropriate levels are consistently maintained can have long-term impacts. If an individual is unable to go to a doctor, there are multiple options for pharmacy tests, at-home blood pressure kits, or nurse visits.
7. Maintain Medications
Working with your doctor and nurses to continue regular medication use (as previously prescribed) and marry this practice with your new lifestyle changes is an important part of heart health for seniors.
For individuals who may struggle to pay costs of prescriptions, consider contacting Prescription Assistance Programs for Seniors for help and guidance.
8. Regularly Exercise
Getting out and moving benefits seniors by both strengthening their heart and helping to maintain a consistent weight. For those with limited mobility, find a program with less high-intensity exercises like chair dips or water aerobics.
9. Quit Smoking
The harmful chemicals found in cigarettes and other tobacco products can severely damage your blood cells and the heart and blood vessels’ functionality. This, in turn, makes an individual susceptible to a number of heart and lung diseases.
10. Talk to Your Doctor, Ask for Specific Healthy Heart Tips
Keeping your heart healthy and strong is the culmination of conscious choices made every day. For support and guidance, contact your doctor and schedule regular appointments to discuss lifestyle changes and medication options. While reading articles and staying informed is helpful, medical care is essential. Your primary physician understands your history and can give you specific healthy heart tips tailored to your individual needs, as well as monitor your progress when you start any new program or practice.
Don’t be nervous to share these goals with friends and family; asking for their support can make all the difference in maintaining a happy heart.