Improve senior heart health with a few simple lifestyle changes.
While the main focus of February for many of us is Valentine’s Day, there’s another national holiday that should capture our attention as well: American Heart Month. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for older adults, making it crucial to protect heart health in seniors.
Incorporate more physical activity. Traditional exercise programs and routines are great, but there are lots of other innovative ways to strengthen the heart throughout the course of each day. For instance, on the next shopping trip, park a little farther away from the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator if possible. Take breaks from sitting, and be creative: dance while sorting the laundry, jump on a mini trampoline or pedal away on a stationary bike while watching TV – just be sure to check first with the doctor before starting or changing any physical activity level.
Include these heart-healthy foods. Add in more leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, fish and other lean proteins, while reducing sodium, saturated and trans fats, sugar, and alcohol. While it’s often difficult to make dietary changes, the key is consistency; in time, these changes will become part of your daily habits, and your heart will thank you!
Implement relaxation techniques. Managing stress is crucial to heart health – something that has been particularly challenging during the pandemic. It’s important to find healthy ways to cope, avoiding stress eating or substance use, and instead talking with a counselor as well as trusted family and friends, engaging in enjoyable activities, and setting aside designated time each day to relax and de-stress through prayer or meditation, listening to calming music, journaling, etc.
Improve sleep habits. The risk for chronic health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and more, increases for those who aren’t getting enough good quality sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 7 – 9 hours of sleep daily for adults, which is a challenge for many seniors. Keeping the bedroom, cool, dark, and quiet, limiting heavy meals and alcoholic beverages in the evening, and setting a schedule to go to sleep and wake up each day can help.
Visiting Care Giving Services, the expert providers of elder care in St. Peters and surrounding communities, is here to help improve heart health in seniors through preparing healthy meals, providing encouragement to engage in physical activity, offering respite care for family caregivers to unwind and relax, and much more. Contact us at (636) 493-9058 for a free in-home consultation to learn more about our professional home care services for seniors.