The first, and most obvious tip is to make wise food choices! Seniors should strive to eat at least 5 servings of colorful fruits and veggies every day, 2 servings of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids per week, 3 servings of whole grains every day, 21-30 grams of fiber every day, less than 140 mg of sodium per serving, 3 oz of lean meat per serving, and 15% or less of daily calories from sugar and solid fats. So basically, cut down on the salt and sugar and try filling up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and fish instead!
Second, seniors need to keep an eye on their blood pressure. As we age our blood vessels lose elasticity and become narrower, causing blood pressure to increase. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 and 60-80 beats per minute while resting is the normal pulse range. Regular checks on these stats are very important!
Next up, seniors need to keep on moving! It is recommended that they have 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity per week. That’s a 22 minute brisk walk every day after breakfast…totally doable for most! And for those who are not able to pull off a daily walk, even marching while sitting or doing arm circles during commercials of their favorite show will get the job done. It’s also a great idea to do some muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 times a week. This can include sitting and standing (basically a squat), using small dumbbells, or doing pushups against a wall.
Another way seniors can support their heart health is by living smart! Eliminating and managing stress, avoiding tobacco products, and limiting alcohol are all mindful choices that lead to a happier, healthier heart!
Last of all, seniors need to maintain a healthy weight. Our weight largely controls our blood pressure. Your BMI (body mass index) is a good way to calculate if you’re at a healthy weight for your height. You can find your BMI by following this formula: Weight in pounds x 703 divided by height in inches squared. There are many online calculators available to help as well. A BMI between 18.5-25 is a heart-healthy weight.
Let’s take this month to implement these 5 things so that we can create stronger bodies and longer lives! Here’s to healthy living and a healthy heart!!