Heart disease is a common health concern for all adults, as it is the leading cause of death in the United States. However, the condition becomes increasingly common as we age. Luckily, there are many steps that can be taken to reduce or mitigate your risks. Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease after 60.
Low physical activity is correlated with a higher risk of stroke, heart failure and heart attack in older adults. A well-rounded, consistent exercise regimen is a great tactic to strengthen your cardiovascular system and combat heart disease – and is something that can be encouraged if you live in a senior living community.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise per week with activities like a brisk walk, swimming, cycling or a light jog. Resistance training two to five times per week can also help build strength and encourage blood flow. Add some balance exercises to your routine while you’re at it to help reduce your risk of falls. Stretching with activities like yoga, for instance, offers health benefits such as promoting circulation and heart rate regulation, which can help support a healthy heart.
*Disclaimer. Before starting any new exercise routine, be sure to speak with a health professional.
Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet**
A poor diet is a key risk factor in chronic disease; with a few tweaks, you can help lower the likelihood of developing heart disease. Regularly consume leafy greens like broccoli, kale or spinach along with low-fat proteins like skinless chicken, fish and lean beef. Swap white bread and white rice for their whole-grain counterparts. Use healthy fats, like olive oil, and opt for fresh fruit over baked goods if you want something sweet. You also want to steer clear of processed foods and choose fresh options instead.
In addition to these diet swaps, there are a few things you will want to consume in moderation. Men should limit themselves to two alcoholic drinks daily and women should only have one drink per day maximum. Consumption of salt and added sugar should also be limited, too, as these can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
If the senior living community you reside in offers chef-prepared meals and personalized wellness plans, as we do at Querencia, speak with your care team to come up with a heart-healthy meal plan.
**Disclaimer. Before making changes to your diet, be sure to speak with a healthcare professional.
Smoking cigarettes has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease for a number of reasons. Along with damaging your heart, lungs and blood vessels, smoking can increase the likelihood of atherosclerosis – which is a plaque buildup that hardens in your arteries and can inhibit and block blood flow. Atherosclerosis can lead to serious complications, like heart attack and stroke. Stopping smoking lowers your risk of heart disease along with other chronic diseases and major health events.
Chronic stress can elevate your blood pressure, putting you at an increased risk of heart disease and its related health events, like a heart attack or stroke. Stress can also hinder a good night’s sleep and increase inflammation in your body.
To lower your stress levels, make time to recharge and relax. Meditation, breathing exercises, regular exercise, a healthy diet and getting enough sleep can help. Talking to a mental health professional can also enable you to find coping mechanisms that help you better manage your stress.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough good quality sleep is crucial to good health, especially heart health. Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Here are some tips to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep:
- Follow a sleep schedule, going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine by making time to relax and unwind to prepare to fall asleep.
- Avoid naps during the day, as these can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Minimize or eliminate screens before bedtime, as their blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm and keep you awake. Instead, read or listen to some relaxing music.
- Avoid caffeine later in the day and don’t eat large meals close to your bedtime.
- Exercise regularly to encourage better sleep; avoid working out within three hours of your bedtime.
Focus On Your Health at Querencia
The community you reside in can make a big difference in the state of your health and wellness. At Querencia, our residents’ health and well-being are our utmost priority. We have a robust wellness program complete with personalized wellness plans and versatile activities for social, spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual enrichment – so that they can live the lifestyle they aspire to and deserve.
Contact us today to see how you can live well at Querencia.