Every 40 seconds. That, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is how often someone in the United States suffers a heart attack. Every 40 seconds adds up to over 800,000 heart attacks per year. Some 200,000 of those events are recurrences, says the CDC. And then there are those 1 in five that are considered silent. The sneak heart attack that does damage the victim is unaware of. Heart disease causes more fatalities than all forms of cancer combined.
Those statistics are dramatic enough without the added caveat that aging hearts are at the greatest risk. Seniors over the age of 60 are roughly twice as likely to experience a cardiac event than younger people.
The good news is, with the right attitude and a few common-sense heart health tips pertaining to our daily habits, we can positively impact our cardiac status. Simply put: Heart health for seniors is all about healthy lifestyle choices.
Exercise is Key
The best gift you can give your heart is to get moving. Exercise will help improve and maintain heart health, and it’s never too late to start. When beginning an exercise program, it’s important to properly asses your fitness level. If it’s been a while since you’ve been active, check in with your doctor before you begin. Remember, getting in shape is a marathon, not a sprint. Start with something simple, like a ten minute walk every day and work your way up to more vigorous activity. For those who have been consistently in motion, there are lots of options for moderate exercise. Try any one of these:
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- Tai Chi
Eat Like Your Heart Health Depends on It
Any strategy focusing on seniors' heart health must include a heart-healthy diet. Aim for a menu that is low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Be sure to include plenty of colorful fruits, veggies, and nuts. Avoid high-fat diary, or meats, and read labels to be aware of salt and trans fats content. And of course, take care to limit alcohol intake.
Never underestimate the negative consequences of stress. Studies show that unchecked stress can trigger a heart attack, and also contribute to other heart disease risks factors like high blood pressure.
Put It Out
High on the list of heart care tips: Stop smoking. Quitting smoking, even later in life can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you are struggling to quit, check in with your doctor about support programs.
A good night’s sleep is critical to our overall health at any age, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA), seniors who experience chronic sleep deprivation are negatively impacting their cardiovascular fitness. According to AHA research, poor sleep increases unhealthy food cravings and decreases the desire to exercise.
Designed to specifically enhance the total well-being of the 55+ set, Overture’s premier active adult communities are committed to supporting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Whether you want to join a fitness class, learn how to cook heart-healthy recipes at a cooking demo, or simply enjoy walking around the property with like-minded peers, Overture is an environment that encourages healthy choices.
Studies confirm that changes in lifestyle and management of known risks can prevent more than 80% of cardiovascular events. Make a few simple changes. Your heart will love you for it.