In honor of American Heart Month, Rachel Ramirez, wellness director at Parkway Place in Houston, and Corey Gaddis, director of nursing at Calder Woods in Beaumont, shared five easy-to-remember tips you need to know about improving senior heart health using just 15 simple words:
Know your numbers.
Trust the doctor.
Check in regularly.
Make it fun!
Never give up.
- Know your numbers.
There are two crucial numbers everyone should know when it comes to heart health, particularly in senior adults: cholesterol and blood pressure.
High cholesterol creates blocked arteries, which means your heart isn’t getting the amount of blood it needs. High blood pressure means there’s excess strain on your heart, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. A heightened awareness of both of these numbers is key to maintaining a healthy heart.
- Check in regularly.
One of the best preventions for heart failure is maintaining regular appointments with your doctor. Your physician will be able to see those cholesterol and blood pressure numbers, plus having regular appointments at least once a year can help track any changes.
- Trust the doctor.
When it comes to heart health, it can be especially easy to not follow prescribed actions. Our bodies are so good at adapting to physiological changes that we often “feel fine” when really there’s a serious underlying problem. Closely follow your physician’s recommendations for heart health, including exercise and medication, regardless of how you feel.
- Make it fun!
The biggest risk senior adults face to optimum heart health is not previous lifestyle choices, diet or weight. The real perpetrator? Inactivity.
A key saying to remember is “anyone who has a heart and wants to keep it needs to exercise.” BUT, exercise can be fun! Check with your senior living community to find a wellness class that suits your interest. Whether it’s chair volleyball or water aerobics, there’s something for everyone. You can even time your machine workouts to when your favorite television show airs to make the minutes pass quickly.
- Never give up.
Many senior adults can become overwhelmed at the thought of exercising, and understandably so. After a fall or injury, getting back into activity can seem daunting. However, something is always better than nothing and even just walking from one end of the hallway to another three days a week can help build your endurance.
Whether you’re 52, 72 or 102, you’re never too young or too old to think about heart health and how to make your ticker as in shape as possible. For additional heart health resources, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.