February is Heart Health Month, but the importance of heart health is relevant throughout the year. According to the American Heart Association, from 2013 to 2016, over 120 million Americans had some form of cardiovascular disease.
Heart disease is one of America’s most significant health concerns, and while many people may assume that these problems occur with age, that is not the case. Steps to improve heart health should be taken at any age!
As we decorate our communities throughout Georgia for Valentine’s Day, Oaks Senior Living is reminded of the importance of heart health. We are sharing tips on promoting heart health this February and all year long. A healthy heart is a happy heart!
Top Causes for Heart Health Concerns
While there are different risks for heart disease between men and women, some habits such as smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, and overstress can negatively impact everyone. Avoiding these unhealthy habits can significantly reduce your risk of developing heart disease or cardiovascular issues.
There are a lot of bad habits that can contribute to heart health concerns and an increased risk of developing heart disease. Yet, for every bad habit, there are good habits that can help keep your heart healthy!
Maintaining Heart Health Through Exercise
One of the best ways to improve your heart health is exercise! Cardio workouts, such as walking, aerobics, swimming, and biking, can lead to improvements in your heart’s health. Many researchers agree that older adults should exercise for at least 150 minutes a week (30 minutes for five days a week) of moderate exercise. These exercises can vary, and finding a routine should revolve around what you enjoy doing!
If you are spending Valentine’s Day with a spouse or loved one, another great cardio exercise can come in the form of dancing. Oaks Senior Living encourages you to grab your dancing shoes, throw on some music, and get moving!
The Key to a Heart-Healthy Diet
A diet consisting of heart-healthy foods can contribute to good heart health and decrease your risk of developing heart disease.
Fatty fish, such as mackerel, tuna, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are some of the best foods for heart health. These foods have been shown to reduce triglyceride levels in your system, which is associated with heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce blood pressure, raise good cholesterol levels (HDLs), and help prevent or reduce symptoms of inflammation.
If you aren’t much of a fish person, other foods can be beneficial to your heart. Adding more whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc.) can help improve your heart health!
A Happy Heart is a Healthy Heart
Though many don’t deem socialization as a healthy habit, the lack of socialization can have adverse effects on your health, especially your heart. According to a recent study, individuals who feel lonely experience elevated levels of blood pressure. While more research is needed to understand the correlation between heart health and socialization, some studies have shown that there are health benefits to those who socialize frequently or feel fulfilled in their social life.
Dr. Roy C. Ziegelstein, a professor of medicine and Executive Vice Chairman at John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, says, “... people with depression but no previously detected heart disease, seem to develop heart disease at a higher rate than the general population.” If you would like to learn more about senior depression, we encourage you to read our previous blog, “Recognizing and Understanding Senior Depression.”
If you are looking for more socialization opportunities as a senior, your local senior recreation center may be a great outlet. These centers offer educational classes and are host to social events focused towards seniors with similar interests. A happy mind can help you achieve a healthy heart!
If you would like to learn more about Oaks Senior Living, with senior living communities throughout Georgia, we encourage you to contact one of our experts. Or, visit our Facebook page to view photos, stories, events, and more, from our communities!