As one ages, the risk of experiencing heart disease increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 21.7% of seniors 65 years and older have experienced a form of heart disease. Heart disease describes a range of conditions such as stroke, coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral arterial disease. These conditions can negatively affect the normal function of one’s heart, blood vessels and arteries. Discover the proactive steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Five Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Aging brings many benefits including wisdom, the opportunity to retire in a stylish senior living community and the chance to take better care of your body. Fortunately, keeping your heart healthy is easy to do. Incorporate these five tips into your everyday routine and you may be able to keep your heart strong for years to come.
Exercise is good for your heart in so many ways. John Hopkins Medicine explains that engaging in physical activity improves the muscles’ ability to pull oxygen out of the blood, which reduces the need for the heart to pump more blood to the muscles. This means less strain on your heart.
Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy body weight. If you are above the ideal weight for your age, this can put extra strain on your heart, making it work overtime to pump blood to your body. This extra work results in high blood pressure and heart disease. When you lose weight, your blood pressure lowers and provides your heart relief from extra pumping.
Try the following physical exercises to keep heart disease at bay:
- Brisk walking
- Strength training
*Disclaimer: Always speak with a doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Manage Your Stress
How does stress contribute to heart disease? According to cardiologist Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., “stress can increase inflammation in your body, which in turn is linked to factors that can harm your heart.” Life without any stress may not be possible, but these activities can help lower your stress levels:
- Practice Yoga
- Listen to music
- Enjoy a hobby
- Try breathing exercises
Abbey Delray offers many of these activities, plus plentiful opportunities to develop fun hobbies that will keep your stress level at a minimum.
Eat a Heart Healthy Diet**
If you’re searching for a heart-healthy meal plan, try the Mediterranean diet. This diet focuses on eating more vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruits and is recommended by many medical professionals. It limits red meats and sweets. According to the American Heart Association, a Mediterranean diet can prevent “heart disease and stroke and reduce risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.”
**Disclaimer: Always speak with a doctor before starting any new diet.
Minimize Salt and Sugar Intake
In addition to changing your overall diet, you might want to review your salt and sugar intake. Consuming too much salt and sugar has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Even with a Mediterranean diet, do your best to limit foods that may contain high amounts of sugar and salt.
If you are a smoker, you are harming more than just your lungs. Smoking narrows and hardens your arteries, which in turn increases your risk of heart attack and heart disease. Consider dropping the habit sooner rather than later so your body and heart can heal. Talk to your doctor about an appropriate plan that can help you quit smoking permanently.
Get Plenty of Rest
Getting a good night’s rest can do wonders for your mental and physical health. But if you are struggling with insomnia and not getting enough sleep, it can increase your blood pressure and lead to heart disease. Here are a few ways you can improve your sleep habits:
- Exercise daily
- Establish a bedtime routine and go to sleep at the same time every day
- Avoid eating sugary, fatty foods or drinking alcohol before going to sleep
Be sure to speak to your doctor before making any dietary changes.
Focus On Your Health at Abbey Delray
At Abbey Delray, we empower our residents to focus on their physical and mental well-being. Try something new in one of our fitness classes, or enjoy an exceptional, nutritious meal at one of our dining venues. Residents can customize their wellness plans with our onsite healthcare professionals. Find out more about the Abbey Delray lifestyle when you contact us or fill out the form below.