February is Heart Month, a dedicated time to raise awareness about cardiovascular health and encourage individuals to adopt heart-healthy habits. The aging process can change the cardiovascular system, making older adults more susceptible to heart-related issues. For older adults, taking proactive steps to care for their hearts becomes even more crucial. Let's explore some key aspects of cardiovascular health and ways you can embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of heart health.
And there is always time to start moving! Many effective forms of exercise vary in intensity, from walking to high-intensity interval training. In older adults who were previously inactive, walking can reduce some risk factors for heart disease – including body fat, blood pressure, body mass index, and body weight. High-intensity interval training (known as HIIT) can also decrease risk factors for heart disease in adults who are overweight or living with obesity and is most effective when performed at least three times weekly for more than 12 weeks. Whatever your preference, consider incorporating some exercise into your everyday routine to benefit your long-term health and well-being.
A heart-healthy diet is an essential component of cardiovascular well-being.
A few tips to help get you on a heart-healthy diet include controlling your portion sizes, incorporating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources into your diet, reducing unhealthy fats and salt, and planning by creating daily menus. Canada's Food Guide is a great resource for healthy eating tups and recipes.
Regular health check-ups are crucial for identifying and managing any potential cardiovascular issues.
Older adults should schedule routine visits with their healthcare providers to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall heart health. Early detection and intervention may help manage cardiovascular conditions effectively. Your healthcare team can also help to identify which exercise and dietary strategies are best for you and how to safely engage in them.
Practice stress-reducing techniques.
Chronic stress can take a toll on the heart. Practicing stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and engaging in hobbies you enjoy can contribute to better cardiovascular health. Building a strong support system and staying socially connected also play a role in managing stress and promoting overall well-being.
Heart Month is a poignant reminder for older adults to prioritize their cardiovascular health. By adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, mindful nutrition, regular check-ups, and stress management, older adults can take charge of their well-being and enjoy a heart-healthy life.