According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of illness in the US, accounting for about one in every four deaths. Although your chance of getting cardiovascular disease increases with age, we cannot assume that it’s going to happen. Being prepared and educated is best. There’s a lot you can do to keep your heart healthy no matter your age.
Here are some tips for maintaining cardiovascular health:
Stay active with exercise
Physical activity is good for your cardiovascular health at every age. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise almost every day of the week.
Healthy older adults should do four types of activities regularly: aerobic (or endurance) exercise and activities to strengthen muscles, improve balance, and increase flexibility. Whatever you do, progress gradually to help avoid injury and minimize soreness. Safety first!
• Monitor your lab work; Regular lab work interpreted by your primary care physician is key to keeping you at your baseline.
• Eat a heart-healthy diet
• What you eat is one of the most important factors for warding off cardiovascular disease. Make sure to:
• Monitor your sodium intake. Cardiac diets consist of no salt added or low sodium options
• “Eat from the rainbow” of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables (choose a variety of orange, yellow, and green vegetables)
• Choose whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice
• Incorporate fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese, or soy or rice milk that is fortified with vitamin D and calcium
• Get your protein from seafood, lean meats, poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds
• Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts that have added sugars
• Limit foods with butter, shortening, or other fats
• Your primary care physician can help you develop an effective nutrition plan. It is also helpful to understand how to read the nutrition label effectively. Heart health is essential.