The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently found that heart disease kills almost 610,000 people every year – the leading cause of death in the USA. Most people assume that heart disease and heart problems are just part of the package when it comes to aging, but that’s not the case. Many of the heart issues older people face have nothing to do with age, but are rather symptoms of lifestyle issues that are only exacerbated by age.
Simply put, if you want to maintain your heart health as you age, you need to make better lifestyle choices. Here are 6 lifestyle changes you can make to keep you heart healthy as you age:
- Stay Active – Your body’s ability to pump oxygen through your heart and into your blood declines as you age, but this decline can easily be slowed by regular exercise. It’s never too late to start an exercise program. Keeping active may be as simple as going on daily walks in the park, or more advanced like yoga classes or dance aerobics. Find classes near you on discount sites like ClassPass or Groupon.
- Eat Healthy – Everyone knows eating well can help you stay healthy, but not everyone knows how much of an effect diet has on heart disease. A heart-healthy diet is imperative if you want to maintain adequate heart function as you age. Eat more heart-positive foods like nuts, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to avoid sodium, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats. Of course, you can always enjoy a nice steak or can of coke, but only in moderation. Find heart-healthy recipes on the American Heart Association’s website.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, and is one of the leading causes of atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque disrupts your blood flow causing strokes and heart attacks. If you’ve tried to quit smoking before and failed, don’t be discouraged. Simply try again. It’s worth your life. Check out gov for extra help.
- Lose That Weight – Everyone wants to look better in a swimsuit, but weight loss is important for much more than vanity. Staying at a healthy weight is much better for your heart, and can add years to your life as you age. Rather than trying fad diets or unhealthy cleanses, lose the weight in healthy, proven ways like eating more fruits and vegetables, and getting more exercise. Try apps like Noom or MyFitnessPal for guidance.
- Visit Your Doctor – Getting regular screenings and examinations can help you and your doctor catch and treat heart problems before they lead to heart attacks or strokes. Make a specific plan with your primary care physician to get regular blood pressure, blood sugar, blood count and cholesterol tests.
- Listen To Your Body – You know your body, you’ve had it your whole life! Listen to what it’s trying to tell you, and never ignore possible signs of heart trouble like shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations or dizziness.
Make these 6 changes to your lifestyle to keep your heart healthy as you age.
Do you have any more heart health tips? Comment below! Don’t forget to explore our other helpful articles on health, finance and more.