February 6, 2018

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, and 1 in 4 deaths each year are caused by heart disease. Luckily, heart disease may be preventable by implementing a few healthy lifestyle changes.

Because February is American Heart Month, now is the perfect time to raise awareness about heart disease and share a few heart-healthy tips for seniors. Here are a few easy changes to make in February and beyond to improve your heart health.

Add color to your diet

The American Heart Association recommends eating eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day to reduce the risk of heart disease. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which promote a heart-healthy diet and help control weight and blood pressure. Many senior living communities have on-site nutritionists ready to help seniors incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert!

Get moving

Regular physical activity is an essential aspect of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Just twenty to thirty minutes of moderate exercise each day can help seniors improve their heart health and lower blood pressure. Today’s senior living communities offer spacious indoor fitness centers, group strength and fitness classes, paved outdoor walking trails to help residents get their daily exercise.

Manage stress

While we all cope with stress in different ways, chronic stress and anxiety are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. There are many ways to prevent the harmful effects of stress, such as practicing deep breathing, doing yoga or stretching, petting a dog or cat, talking with a friend or going for a short walk. Doing hobbies and activities you enjoy can help relieve stress and improve your overall mood.

Get enough sleep

Frequent sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality can cause disruptions in your metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation, which may lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Older adults need around eight hours of quality sleep each night. To improve sleep quality, try establishing a bedtime routine and avoid excess caffeine in the daytime. Some older adults also benefit from taking a short nap during the day.

Taking small steps to prevent heart disease can go a long way in improving your overall health and wellness. Start good habits early and be sure to schedule regular doctor’s visits to watch for changes in your heart health.