February is American Heart Month -- a great time to take stock of your heart health habits. Unfortunately, heart disease remains a top killer of adults in the U.S., but it’s not the inevitable result of old age. The biggest culprit: Americans’ increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Fast food, smoking, diabetes, stress and lack of medical care are also contributors.
Seniors who take advantage of the amenities and activities offered in a senior living community, however, can boost their heart health and enjoy longer, healthier lives. Here’s how:
Eat your veggies. Skip the fast food or sodium-laden canned soup. Arbor Terrace’s dining program offers healthy choices daily! Freshly prepared fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and poultry are all better choices for your heart than red meat or processed or fatty foods.
Get moving! Aim for 30 minutes or more of light exercise five or six days a week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week. Take advantage of yoga and exercise classes or take a brisk walk around the community.
Stop smoking and limit alcohol. Tobacco and excessive alcohol are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases. If you’re smoking – it’s time to quit. Consume no more than two drinks a day if you’re a man; women should have no more than one. (One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.)
Get your sleep. Seniors should sleep between seven and nine hours each night. Sleep helps your brain function, boosts your immune system and metabolism, and promotes emotional well-being.
See the doctor. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure, other vital signs and symptoms of any diseases. Discuss goals for improving your heart health with your doctor, and always take medication as prescribed.
For additional tips on making your heart health a priority, learn how our seniors are staying active across our communities.