The need to maintain a healthy heart doesn’t just affect those who are trying to lose weight or reduce cholesterol levels; it’s important for you to maintain your heart health if you want to avoid any serious issues as you get older. There are plenty of different ways to do this, so even if you aren’t currently facing any major heart-related issues, these healthy heart tips will help you take care of your heart and ensure it stays healthy as you age.
Stay Active with Exercise
Staying active with exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart. Doctors recommend getting 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or swimming, and doing strength training exercises at least twice a week. Exercising can help boost your mood, lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of diabetes. If you’re over 65, check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program to make sure it’s right for you.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
High levels of unhealthy cholesterol in your blood can lead to heart disease. One way to avoid high cholesterol is to eat a heart-healthy diet, limiting your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Limit your intake of red meat and opt for lean cuts of poultry and fish instead. Increase fiber in your diet by eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Get regular exercise so you can keep your blood pressure at healthy levels, and lower your risk for high cholesterol as well.
Watch Your Numbers
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy heart is to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. These are all major risk factors for heart disease. The good news is that these numbers can be managed with diet, exercise or medication. If you’re over 65 years old or have already been diagnosed with any of these conditions, it’s important to get them under control. Otherwise, you could put yourself at risk for other diseases like diabetes and stroke.
Watch Your Weight
Studies have shown that weight gain can be a precursor to cardiovascular disease. If you’re overweight, it may not seem like losing weight will improve your heart health, but it can. Losing just 5% of your body weight could lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels enough to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or stroke significantly. Work with your golden age doctor to find a diet and exercise plan that works for you. Then stick with it — maintaining a healthy weight takes some effort, but having a healthy heart is worth it.
Check for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects sleep and breathing. People with sleep apnea may experience frequent awakenings, shallow breathing, and gasping during sleep. Sleep apnea is most common in overweight men over age 50 and in women over age 60. If you’re concerned about your weight or snoring habit, consult your doctor for an examination to check for sleep apnea, particularly if you’re at risk of high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Consult your doctor to find out how to maintain a healthy heart as you get older by sleeping well and reducing stress levels.
If you’re a smoker, quitting is one of your best bets for improving your health and extending your life. In fact, after stopping smoking, many people see improvements in their heart health within just two to three years. That’s because by quitting smoking, you lower your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. You also reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases like lung cancer or emphysema. Quitting may be difficult at first, but there are resources available to help you succeed, including medication options and counseling programs.