3 Ways to Focus on Heart Health for Seniors

heart health for seniors

February shines as American Heart Health Month, making it the perfect opportunity to sprinkle some extra love on our hearts. The National Institute for Health (NIH) notes that while your hearts have gathered wisdom over the years, they also need additional love and care to keep beating healthily. For example, people who are 65 years and older have a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes or heart disease. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your heart!  

There are several risk factors for developing heart disease. These include:  

  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes 
  • High cholesterol  
  • Family history of heart disease 
  • Smoking  
  • Being overweight or obese 
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle  
  • Not eating a healthy diet 

Although the risk of heart disease does increase as you age, the good news is that heart health for seniors can be improved through a series of lifestyle adjustments and awareness. Here are three heart-healthy resolutions and actions seniors can take to foster a healthier heart.  


1. Heart Healthy Activities for Seniors 

Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy at any age! Of course, there are additional benefits to staying active for seniors. It’s important to note that heart-healthy activities do not need to be strenuous to be beneficial. A recent study found that as little as 500 extra steps (about a quarter of a mile) a day can help lower the risk of heart disease in seniors. Other moderate exercises such as cycling, dancing, Zumba, yoga or chair yoga and water aerobics are also excellent options. These activities enhance cardiovascular health and improve balance and strength, which can also help reduce the risk of falls.  

Before starting any new exercise regimen, consider consulting with a healthcare provider to best tailor your physical activities to meet your individual health needs.  


2. Eat a Healthy Diet 

A balanced, nutritious diet plays a key role in maintaining a healthy heart. Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. We have some great recipes to help you incorporate some of these delicious foods! Chocolate (the darker, the better) can help lower your blood pressure, and the antioxidants in green tea can help your arteries stay flexible longer, which helps reduce plaque buildup in your heart.  

It’s also important to include foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. According to the National Library of Medicine, Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats, slow the rate of artery hardening, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of cognitive decline in seniors. Eating foods like fish (such as salmon, mackerel and tuna) and other seafood (such as shrimp, crab and oysters), nuts and seeds (such as peanuts, pumpkin seeds and walnuts) and beans are great ways to incorporate Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.  


3. Monitor your Health 

Do you know what your blood pressure or cholesterol levels are? Knowing and managing these two numbers can greatly impact senior heart health. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help you monitor these health metrics and provide guidance on how to manage them through diet, exercise and medication (if needed).  


While the risk of heart disease increases with age, adopting heart-healthy habits can significantly mitigate these risks. By focusing on regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet and monitoring critical health metrics, seniors can enjoy a healthier, more vibrant life. Remember, small changes can lead to significant health benefits over time! 

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