Staying heart-healthy as we age can be a challenge. Heart disease is a significant cause of death in the senior population, so reducing this risk can help us stay well. Luckily, there are several things you can do to improve your heart health, be more active, and live a long, fulfilling life. We’ve picked out five things you can do below to help protect your heart.
- Exercise and Stay Active
Staying active and getting in the routine of doing a little exercise each day can go a long way to improving your cardiovascular health. Ideally, get at least 30 minutes a day. This could include doing something simple like walking, taking up a sport like tennis or water aerobics, or joining a gym.
You want to do exercises that increase your flexibility, strengthen your muscles, and gradually improve your balance. Yoga combines strengthening, balance, and flexibility. Walking can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar, build stamina, build strength, and maintain bone mass.
- Monitor Your Weight
Being obese or overweight is a very common problem for seniors. The excess weight can increase your chances of developing bone issues, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Your metabolism slows as you age, so you usually have to eat fewer calories while still eating nutrient-dense food.
Monitor your weight levels and note any fluctuations. A sudden increase in weight could indicate that you have fluid retention. A sudden loss in weight may point to a medical condition. Ideally, weigh yourself at around the same time. This will help you spot potential problems early.
- Schedule an Annual Medicare Wellness Visit
Medicare Part B will pay for an annual Wellness Visit once every calendar year. At this visit, your doctor can start establishing a tailored care plan to keep you healthy. They may look over your family history, take your blood pressure, examine at your height and weight, and give you a health screening schedule.
Your doctor may also develop or update a current list of your prescriptions and providers, see if you have any signs of cognitive impairment, and talk to you about advanced care planning. This is the time where you can address any health concerns you have, double-check any medications you take, and ask general health questions if you have them.
- Stop Smoking
Quitting smoking is very difficult because cigarettes are very addictive. However, smoking is a leading cause of a disease called atherosclerosis. This is where plaque builds up in your arteries and restricts the blood flow to your heart. This can eventually lead to a stroke or a heart attack. Unfortunately, this risk increases as you get older.
There are aids to help you quit smoking. You shouldn’t get discouraged if you’ve tried to quit smoking in the past and didn’t succeed. There are also support groups you can take advantage of if you’re ready to try again. Your doctor or your local Unit on Aging office can help point you to more resources.
- Take Steps to Control Any Chronic Conditions
If you have a chronic health condition like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, you should take the appropriate steps to control it. This could mean taking the medications your doctor prescribes you on time as they recommend, losing weight, and watching what you eat.
You may want to take steps to change your diet to something healthier, ask your doctor about your medications, and practice good habits like performing moderate exercise. Your doctor will discuss the correct treatment and management plan with you when you go to your Medicare Wellness Visit.
These five quick tips are things that you can quickly and easily incorporate into your daily routine to help improve your heart health well into your golden years.