One of the best ways to improve your overall health is to improve heart health, especially after age 60. Here are some tips for reducing your risk of heart disease to ensure the next chapter of your life is spent living life to the fullest.
Seniors and Heart Health
Heart disease, most commonly referring to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death in the United States. This condition results in the buildup of a substance known as plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, brain or limbs.
Fortunately, there are a significant number of steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease. By maintaining an active lifestyle, reducing stress, eating healthier and improving sleep habits, seniors can lower their risk of heart disease while also improving the overall quality of their lives.
How To Improve Heart Health
While positive lifestyle changes are required in order to improve heart health after age 60, these changes do not have to be a burden. Additionally, any small change can have positive benefits, and the effects of these changes are cumulative. In other words, start small and build good habits today.
One of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health is through exercise. By increasing your heart rate for 150 minutes per week, you can decrease your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes while improving blood pressure and cholesterol.
Think you need to spend hours on a treadmill to see benefits? Think again! “Exercise” can be a brisk walk outdoors, a swim in the pool or any other activity that gets you moving and gets your heart rate up. By finding a physical activity you enjoy, you’re more likely to build positive habits that keep you in a routine.
It’s also important to remember that all exercise is beneficial. While 150 minutes per week or more is ideal, even 10 minutes a day can provide some benefit.
*Disclaimer. Always be sure to consult with your doctor before changing your exercise routine.
Eat a Heart Healthy Diet**
A heart-healthy diet with plenty of heart-healthy foods is a surefire way to decrease your risk of heart disease. Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of chronic diseases. It’s also important to limit calories from sugars or saturated fats whenever possible. This includes sugars found in beverages like soda and other calorie-dense drinks.
You don’t need to cut out all calorie-dense foods from your diet, however. The key to a sustainable healthy diet is moderation. It’s okay to occasionally indulge in sweets, treats and other less nutrient-dense food options. However, the majority of your calories should come from healthier food options.
**Disclaimer. Be sure to speak with a health professional before changing your diet.
Poor sleep can negatively affect your heart health. A lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, less motivation for physical activity and can even cause hunger signals that lead to unhealthy food choices. More directly, a condition like sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke by depriving your body of oxygen during sleep.
Aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep per night. To achieve this, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, get enough physical activity during the day and try to expose yourself to natural light during the day. At bedtime, avoid artificial lighting from phones or other electronic devices, consuming stimulants like caffeine and foods high in fat or sugar.
Stress can lead to high blood pressure. In turn, high blood pressure can increase your risk of a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke. To combat heart disease, you need to combat stress.
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Socializing with friends and family
- Talking to a therapist or mental health expert
Additionally, what’s good for your stress levels can also be good for your heart. Exercise, a healthy diet and improved sleep can all decrease your stress, thereby multiplying the effectiveness of these practices.
Make Your Health a Priority at Beacon Hill
A community like Beacon Hill can help you achieve your health goals with an enriching community life and five-star health services. Our community offers abundant opportunities to help you become the best version of yourself and continue your personal growth journey through your retirement years.
If you have any questions about senior living or our Beacon Hill community, contact us to speak with a helpful member of our team.