Did you know that the heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime? Given its heavy workload, it’s important that you take care of your heart throughout your life, especially in your golden years. Scroll down to learn how to maintain a healthy heart through diet, exercise, and several other easy lifestyle choices.
How to Maintain a Healthy Heart
Keep Moving for Heart Health
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends plenty of physical activity to keep your heart healthy. If possible, try to follow the AHA’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, per week. You can also strive for 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, like running. Additionally, make sure to incorporate muscle-strengthening activities like weight training into your routine at least two days per week.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Make sure to choose healthy foods to accompany your active lifestyle. Foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium are all proven to help decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. But what does a heart-healthy diet look like? The AHA recommends striving for a diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like fish and nuts. If you’re interested in overhauling your diet, your doctor can help you build a plan that works for your lifestyle.
Don’t Forget to Floss
You might be surprised to discover the link between your pearly whites and your heart health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease can also put you at higher risk of heart disease. With that in mind, make sure to schedule regular check-ins with your dentist, and brush and floss at least twice a day.
A spring in your step feels fantastic – but it can also keep your heart going strong. According to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, chronic stress and anxiety have been proven to raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. Stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, and journaling can help.
Check in with Your Doctor
You’ve probably already heard that high cholesterol and high blood pressure can both lead to heart disease and heart attacks. But how can you take control of cardiovascular issues? First, make sure to get your cholesterol checked at least every four to six years – more often if you have heart disease risk factors like obesity or diabetes. Beyond regular blood pressure and cholesterol testing, you’ll also want to schedule regular ankle-brachial index tests. These tests assess your pulse to check for peripheral artery disease, a condition in which plaque builds up in the leg arteries. Finally, make sure to establish a close working relationship with your doctor, and keep your doctor abreast of any changes to your health. For example, if you feel unusually tired or develop breathing issues, call your doctor immediately. Both symptoms could be signs of cardiovascular irregularities.
Exercise, eating right, stress relief, and regular physical exams are all important parts of maintaining a healthy heart. Of course, you should also learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke, as knowing the symptoms can help you get life-saving treatment faster. Finally, if you’re concerned about your heart health – or need a friendly place to recover from a cardiovascular incident – consider relocating to a senior living facility.
Are you planning to retire in Greenville, South Carolina? Be sure to check out The Gables on Pelham, a continuing care retirement community that welcomes seniors from all walks of life. We offer flexible and personalized care, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. You’ll love our cozy accommodations, fun-filled events calendar, and welcoming community atmosphere. To learn more, please schedule a tour or give us a call at 864-286-6600.