Heart health is critical to healthy living. Cardiovascular disease is one of the top killers in Canada. In 2019, cardiovascular disease was responsible for 189 deaths per 100,000 population, second only to cancer.
Maintaining heart health can not only help you live longer, but it can help you squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of your senior years!
Tips for Maintaining Heart Health as You Age.
Healthy eating is important at all stages of life, including as we age. For many seniors, healthy eating is difficult. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Skip fast foods, foods loaded with salt and sugar, and processed, artificial ingredients whenever possible.
Instead, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken. It is a good idea to include some healthy fats as well, like fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel etc) and oils (olive oil, coconut oil).
Try to limit your intake of red meat.
Try to move your body for 30 minutes or more at least 5 times a week. This does not have to be all out, push your limits exercise. Yoga, Tai Chi, brisk walks, cycling, pickleball, tennis, aquafit, it all counts. Even raking the yard or vacuuming the living room can get the heart rate up.
If you need support to stay with it, check with the Seniors Association or local gyms for classes and sessions designed specifically for seniors.
Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol
If you smoke or drink more than 1 or 2 alcoholic beverages a day, you should quit or reduce your intake. Both smoking and drinking have been linked to heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions.
It is worth noting, however, that quitting may put additional strain on your system so do consult your physician before you make any drastic reductions.
While we sleep, our bodies do maintenance and repair work. Getting the correct amount of sleep each night can lead to improved brain function, a boosted immune system, improved metabolism, and emotional well-being.
Generally speaking, seniors should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.
See Your Doctor
Your doctor is your partner in heart health. Keep regular checkups to monitor blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and other important indicators of disease.
If you feel differently or simply have questions, schedule an appointment to address your concerns.
Maintaining heart health will look a little different for each person. Your current health, lifestyle, and family history cannot be ignored. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new routine!
For assistance identifying resources like senior meal programs and community support in Kingston and the surrounding area, contact the Frontenac-Kingston Council on Aging or download our Seniors Guide to Navigating Community Resources.