As you cross forty, your body starts to show signs of aging. And it’s natural for changes in lifestyle and health habits to kick in with the passing years. But that doesn’t mean you can’t age gracefully – and have a healthy heart along the way! Taking a few simple steps can help you stay as healthy as possible while maintaining vitality throughout life’s transition periods. In today’s blog post, we will share our top tips on keeping your heart strong through diet and exercise shifts that should come with advancing age. Read on for advice on determining where most of your calories should come from, finding new workout activities, managing stress (which is always crucial!), plus more!
Stay Active with Exercise:
Physical activity is especially important for older adults. Exercise regularly can help keep your heart healthy and help reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Aim for at least 30 minutes of mild activity, such as walking or biking five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, like jogging or playing a sport three days a week.
Healthy older adults should also include balance, strength, and flexibility exercises as part of their regular workout routine. Tai chi, yoga, and light weight-bearing activities can help maintain strength and balance while reducing the risk of falls.
In order to improve your safety while exercising, many states have AED laws in place that require gyms and other public facilities to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on-site in case of an emergency. AED laws vary by state, so it’s a good idea to check the AED regulations in your local area.
Watch Your Weight:
Being obese or overweight can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. That’s why it is essential to maintain a healthy weight as you age. The most reasonable way to do this is by eating a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fresh fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods, sugary snacks, and drinks, and limit your saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol intake.
Additionally, watch your portion sizes – a good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, one-quarter with lean proteins, and one-quarter with whole grains.
Check for Sleep Apnea:
It’s a condition that causes you to briefly stop breathing while sleeping. It can occur if your airway becomes blocked or the muscles and tissues in your throat relax too much while you sleep. Sleep apnea can cause snoring, daytime fatigue, and other sleep-related problems and is a risk factor for heart disease.
If you face any of the problems mentioned above, it would be best to consult your doctor. You might need to undergo a sleep study to diagnose whether or not you have sleep apnea. Treatment may include lifestyle modifications, a CPAP machine, or other medical devices to help open your airway while you sleep.
Healthy eating can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of developing heart disease and other chronic conditions, and improve your overall health. When it comes to eating nutritiously, aim to make nutrient-rich choices and follow the USDA’s My Plate plan. This plan encourages adults to fill one-half of their plate with fruits and vegetables, one-fourth of their plate with grains (preferably whole grains), and one-fourth with protein. Incorporate healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil into your meals to balance nutrients.
Additionally, older adults need to drink plenty of water. Not only can hydration help keep you feeling full and energized, but it can also help reduce feelings of fatigue and confusion.
Stress can take its toll on physical and mental health, and it’s important to take steps to manage it. Take some time each day to relax and do something you enjoy, whether reading a book, doing some light gardening, or going for a walk. Exercise can also be an effective way to manage stress and improve your overall mood.
However, if stress is persistent or affecting your daily life, it might be a good idea to reach out to a mental health expert. Working with a therapist can help you develop coping strategies for stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Watch Your Numbers:
You must monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure levels as you age. High blood pressure and High cholesterol can lead to heart disease and serious health problems. Your doctor can help you determine the best plan for monitoring and managing your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Blood pressure screenings should be done at least once a year, and cholesterol screenings should occur every two to four years, depending on your risk factors. Nevertheless, your physician may suggest more regular check-ups if you or anyone in your family have a history of cardiovascular disease or other chronic health issues.
Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease and other chronic conditions, so if you smoke, it’s important to quit. Talk to your doctor about strategies to help you quit smoking, such as nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medications. You can also join a support group or find resources online to help you quit.
However, quitting smoking can be difficult, so staying motivated and committed to your goals is essential. Talk with your doctor about the best strategies for staying tobacco-free.
Reduce your Alcohol Intake:
Alcohol can significantly impact your heart health, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on your drinking habits. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggested that men should control their alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day, and women should only have one drink per day. Drinking more than this can raise your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and other chronic conditions.
If you’re worried about how much alcohol you drink, talk to your doctor about strategies to reduce your alcohol intake.
Heart health is critical as you cross 40. With some simple tips, you can easily take charge of your heart health and avoid complications. Heart disease is a main cause of death for both men and women, so it’s vital to be proactive about your health. These tips will help keep your heart healthy and prevent any issues down the road. Think Healthy!