Heart health is crucial for seniors. Heart-related health risks — ranging from high blood pressure to cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or heart attacks — become more prevalent as we age.
In the U.S., heart attack is one of the leading causes of death for both men and women ages 65 and up. Even more alarmingly, researchers predict an increase in the rate of heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes by at least 30% in the coming years, starting from 2025.
Thankfully, there are natural ways to improve heart health. The following are our top tips to help you keep your heart healthy and beating strong.
Engage in Regular Exercise
If you want to maintain a healthy heart, you need regular exercise. Physical activities such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling can boost your cardiovascular fitness. The rule of thumb is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily or at least on most days. Aside from cardio, try to do strengthening exercises at least two days a week, as well.
Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet
Nutrition has a key role in maintaining a strong and healthy heart. Make sure your daily diet has enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Foods such as berries, leafy greens, nuts, fatty fish, and olive oil are important to include, too.
More importantly, limit your intake of bad fats, such as saturated or trans fats. Too much sodium or salt and added sugars are bad for the heart, as well. It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water each day.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying excess weight puts strain on the heart and increases the risk of heart disease. As long as you stay physically active and follow a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight shouldn’t be a big challenge.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Chronic stress can negatively impact heart health — it can even potentially trigger a heart attack. Keep your stress levels down with meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or hobbies you enjoy. Taking time for yourself, socializing, and seeking emotional support from loved ones can also help.
Quitting smoking is one of the first things you should do if you want a healthier heart. Smoking damages blood vessels, reduces oxygen in the blood, and significantly increases the risk of heart disease. It might not be easy to quit, but you can seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, or smoking cessation programs to ensure your success.
Keep Alcohol Consumption to a Minimum
Excessive alcohol intake increases seniors’ likelihood of diabetes, congestive heart failure, and hypertension. Make sure to be mindful of your alcohol consumption and keep it within moderate limits. In general, health experts recommend limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
However, take note that individual circumstances can vary. As such, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider first.