A healthy heart is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Even though you may feel that heart disease is inevitable at this point in your life, rest assured that there are many successful ways to keep your heart healthy. It is true that heart disease increases with age, and according to recent statistics, 84 percent of people who are 65 years or older die from heart disease.
Taking the necessary precautions to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your chances of developing heart problems.
Obviously, the best thing you can do for your heart is exercise and maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, there is additional strained placed on the body, especially the heart.
As we learn more about the effects of excess weight, doctors have also become increasingly concerned about visceral fat, which is the fat around the organs.
Even if you are not overweight, you may have visceral fat around your organs, which could be detrimental to your heart. Fortunately, you treat visceral fat the same way as you do subcutaneous fat: exercise. It’s recommended that seniors get 30 minutes of exercise almost every day of the week.
Not only does regular exercise keep your weight healthy, but also it lowers your risk of heart-related complications such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, shortness of breath and angina.
In addition to regular exercise, you should also eat a heart-healthy diet. Make sure your diet consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and poultry and whole grains.
There are specific foods that are especially good for the heart and these include blueberries, salmon, soy protein, oatmeal and spinach. These foods contain very high levels of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that keep the heart healthy and lower the risk of heart disease.
Minimizing stress in your life is also important in keeping your heart healthy. Unfortunately, stress only builds as you get older, making it increasingly difficult to keep stress levels low.
Make it a priority of yours to manage stress such as by setting aside time to relax each day, engaging in the hobbies and activities you love, enjoying the good company of friends and family and getting enough rest. Everyone has different outlets for relieving stress, and with time and patience, you will find yours.
Seeing your physician regularly is also an important part of heart disease prevention. Many people believe that their numbers are fine until they actually see a doctor and find out otherwise.
To monitor your blood pressure and risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, you’ll need to see your physician on a regular basis.
In between doctor visits, be sure to take advantage of free blood pressure machines at your local pharmacy to keep track of your readings. You can also attend free clinics that are offered in your area that will assess your risk for diabetes.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Finally, if you smoke, it’s time to quit. Smoking puts you in the line of fire for heart-related conditions and places unnecessary wear on your organs.
It’s also important to limit your alcohol intake as alcohol can worsen the conditions that lead to heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
There are some studies that show that very light drinking in the form of red wine and ales do have some positive benefits on the heart. Yet these forms of alcohol should be drank in light moderation and not abused.
By taking the necessary precautions to protect your heart, you can avoid heart disease and add valuable years onto your life. If you already suffer from heart disease, work with your doctor to make positive lifestyle changes and incorporate vitamins, supplements and aspirin.