Not to shock anyone, but cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in men and women over the age of 65. This statistic is provided by the American Heart Association, and they know a thing or two about the ticker as they have been fighting heart disease and stroke for nearly 100 years.
While February is Heart Health Month, keeping your heart healthy is a year-round effort, especially for those diagnosed with heart disease. Most people know that smoking and being overweight are not good for heart health, but what more can they do to protect their hearts?
Some of the American Heart Association’s advice may surprise you.
Five Ways to Treat Your Heart Right
If you are one of the estimated 43 million older Americans who has one or more types of cardiovascular disease, you can enjoy a longer and healthier life by making good choices.
Start by trying the following five things that your heart will love!
1. Find a Furry Friend - Studies show that having a pet can help increase fitness levels, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and boost overall happiness and wellbeing. Plus, pets also provide social support.
2. Be Zen - Practicing mindfulness and meditation may help you manage stress and high blood pressure, sleep better, feel more balanced and connected, and even lower your risk of heart disease. These techniques — often using breathing, quiet contemplation or sustained focus on something, such as an image, phrase or sound — may help you let go of stress and feel calmer.
3. Eat More Color – All fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may help prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. A good trick to make sure you get a variety of nutrients is to eat fruits and vegetables of many different colors.
4. Get Moving – Just 20 minutes a day of light exercise is enough to help maintain a healthy heart. Walking, riding a stationary bike and swimming are excellent workouts for people over 65. Tai Chi and yoga, which can both be done from the seated position, are other fun fitness options.
5. Look on the Bright Side - Depression and anxiety can fuel many illnesses, including heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and possibly even cancer and diabetes. A positive attitude about health can ward off mental distress and may help provide important protection against these diseases.
Pathway to Living supports heart-healthy lifestyles for its residents by offering a variety of fresh, wholesome foods, exercise programs, opportunities for social engagement and the ability to interact with community pets.
In addition to making good lifestyle choices for your heart, be sure to visit your doctor, follow his or her advice and take any prescribed medications. Visit the American Heart Association website to learn more.