Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in this country. Estimates are that an average of 610,000 people lose their lives to heart disease every year. This translates to one in four deaths.
Since 1963, Congress has declared February as American Heart Month. The month is designated as such to raise public awareness about heart disease and the steps adults can take to lower their risk.
Adopting a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
- Reduce sodium intake: A diet high in sodium is linked to heart disease. By lowering your intake, you may be able to decrease your risk. These Tips for Reducing Sodium from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help you learn how to do that.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables: Nutritionists recommend adults consume between five and eight fruits and vegetables each day with an emphasis on veggies. Eating a rainbow of colors, not just all green or all red, is also essential.
- Check your cholesterol: High cholesterol is one of the leading contributors to heart disease. If you haven’t had a physical exam in recent years, call your doctor. They will likely order a cholesterol screening to check your numbers.
- Keep moving: A sedentary lifestyle also puts you at increased risk for heart disease. Exercising and staying active promotes a healthier heart. Work with your physician to set goals for how much and what type of exercise you should be doing.
- Pump iron: The benefits of strength training as we age is becoming more and more apparent. An hour of weight training each week can reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke by 40 to 70 percent.
- Stop smoking: It’s not just lung cancer that is potentially caused by smoking. Tobacco use is also linked to heart disease and strokes. If you are a smoker, double your efforts to stop. Secondhand smoke is also deadly. Make every effort to avoid being in closed spaces with a smoker.
- Manage stress: Finding a hobby that has mental health benefits, such as gardening or yoga, will aid in controlling stress. This is essential since chronic stress contributes to heart disease.
The best way to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle is by making small, consistent changes. For example, start by substituting a few unhealthy food choices for fruits and vegetables. Or by walking ten minutes a day before lunch. You will be more likely to stick with changes you make gradually than giving up all of your vices at once.
Aging Well at Clearwater Living
At Clearwater Living, we understand the role eating well plays in successful aging. Through our Savor Dining program, residents enjoy chef-prepared meals that are both enticing and nourishing. It’s a combination that promotes healthy eating.
We invite you to call the Clearwater Living community nearest you to schedule a private tour and learn more!