How to Protect Your Heart
For seniors, managing heart health is vital to maintaining independence and quality of life.
A lot of risk factors are modifiable as we age. And with the help of a few lifestyle changes, most people can completely change their health outlook. No matter the age, you have the opportunity to ensure your heart stays healthy so that it has a much longer trajectory.
In this article, we’ll discuss the prevention steps you can take to keep your heart in tip-top shape.
Stay Socially Engaged
It's no secret that in life, we sometimes lose touch with our friends and social circles. We might retire from our jobs or the kids move away. Maybe loved ones have passed, or we can no longer drive and don’t have the transportation to get out. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can be detrimental to our health.
Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness can lead to a host of health problems, such as depression, heart disease, and even a weakened immune system. On the other hand, social interaction and engagement have been proven to improve mood, increase cognitive function, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure. Additionally, social interaction can help keep the mind sharp and active, helping to stave off cognitive decline.
But how can you stay socially engaged? The most important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give you a sense of purpose.
Here are a few ideas:
- Join a club or group that interests you: Whether it's a book club, a gardening group, or a new class, being part of a community of people with similar interests can be incredibly fulfilling and serve as a great way to keep the mind active. You can also explore events or workshops at your local community center.
- Volunteer: Not only does volunteering allow you to make a difference in your community, but it also gives you the chance to meet new people and feel valued.
- Get tech-savvy: With video conferencing and social media, it's easier than ever to stay in touch with loved ones (and make new friends), no matter where they live.
Manage Stress Levels
It’s 9 o'clock and bedtime for many. But for some, sleep is elusive. All night, tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable and fall asleep. Maybe their minds are racing with worries about their health, their finances, or their families. And as the minutes go by, frustration and anxiety continue to grow.
As we age, our bodies and minds go through changes that can make managing stress more challenging. When we're stressed, the heart rate goes up and blood pressure rises - putting extra strain on our arteries. This can lead to plaque build-up and blockages over time, which is why it's vital to prioritize finding ways to relax and reduce stress.
Some people find relaxation in activities like yoga, meditation, or deep-breathing exercises. Others find that listening to calming music or spending time in nature helps them to relax. Whatever works for you, make sure that you take the time to de-stress regularly.
Add Electrolytes to Your Water
When we’re young, our bodies can compensate for not drinking enough water by drawing on reserves. However, as we age, those reserves dwindle and it becomes increasingly difficult to function without enough water. Without enough fluids, your blood can become thicker and put extra strain on your heart. This can lead to problems like irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Dehydration can also make it difficult for your body to get rid of excess sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure.
It’s commonly advised to simply drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated, but that isn’t enough. To fully replenish the body's water supply, seniors need to drink fluids that contain electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, and chloride which help regulate fluid balance in the body. They’re essential for proper muscle and nerve function and when they become depleted, we can experience weakness and muscle cramping. Electrolyte levels can also be depleted by certain medications or medical conditions.
When left untreated, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can cause more serious health problems, including urinary tract infections (UTIs), constipation, and kidney stones.
Where should I start?
Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. Aim to drink that number of ounces of water a day. In each liter of drinking water put ¼ tsp of natural, colorful sea salt.
To get all of those vital minerals back in your body, add 1.5 tsp of your favorite liquid electrolyte supplement per liter of sea-salted water. To complement the taste, you can also add a scoop of Vitamin C ReSet® berry powder for an extra nutrient boost wrapped in a delicious berry flavor.
Good Night’s Rest
There's nothing quite like a good night's sleep. You know the feeling - you drift off into a deep slumber, and when you wake up, you feel refreshed and relaxed to start the day. It's like hitting the reset button on your body and is one of the most important things you can do for your heart health.
When we enter deep sleep, our heart rate slows down and blood pressure decreases. This gives our cardiovascular and nervous systems a chance to rest and repair any damage that’s been done during the day. A good night's rest can reduce stress, improve mood, and increase energy levels. It can also help manage heart health by reducing inflammation and improving circulation throughout the body.
Seniors should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night to give their bodies and mind time to recharge. If you're having trouble sleeping, there are a few things you can try:
- Establishing a regular sleep schedule can help signal your body that it's time to wind down for the evening. This will help regulate your natural sleep rhythm. Create a peaceful environment in your bedroom - darken the blinds, silence your phone, and turn off all electronics. Even better if you can keep the TV out of the bedroom.
- As we get older, even the best beds can start to feel a little bit harder. Make sure to invest in a good quality mattress and pillow to get the support and comfort you need to drift off to dreamland.
- Take your liquid magnesium supplement. Magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating your body's sleep-wake cycle. It helps to relax the muscles and calm the mind, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Studies have shown that people with low levels of magnesium tend to have more trouble sleeping and may experience insomnia.
So relax, and let nature take its course. Remember, a good night's sleep is vital for a healthy heart.
Replace Saturated and Trans Fats
Saturated and trans fats can raise your cholesterol and cause fatty buildup around your arteries (atherosclerosis). Cutting down on both of these is a good place to start. This means avoiding processed meats, full-fat dairy products, and fried foods. Instead, focus on eating more unsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, avocados, seeds, and nuts.
A heart-healthy diet includes whole foods with key vitamins and minerals, which can help maintain healthy cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Eat a balance of fiber-rich fruits and leafy green vegetables
- Focus on heart-healthy fats -- the kinds found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and salmon.
- Restrict added sugars as much as possible
- Avoid unhealthy saturated fats in desserts, red meat, and fried foods.
The right foods can help keep your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels in check, while also providing your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Start by adding a few more servings of fruits and vegetables to your plate each day. You'll be surprised at how quickly these changes become second nature – and how much better you'll feel because of them!
The key to maintaining a healthy heart is to make physical activity part of your routine. Just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast every morning, including some form of exercise in your daily life, will help ensure that you’re staying on the right track.
- Exercise helps keep the heart and blood vessels strong and healthy by improving circulation and strengthening the heart muscle. This, in turn, helps to pump blood more efficiently throughout the body.
- Exercise can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
- Regular exercise can burn extra calories and help you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can put additional strain on the heart and increase the risk of heart disease.
It’s never too late to start. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. And there are plenty of ways to keep things fun, so you don’t get bored with your workout routine.
While it's true that the risk of heart disease increases with age, seniors who smoke are still at a higher risk than their non-smoking counterparts. Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable disease in the U.S., accounting for nearly one in five deaths. Smoking dramatically decreases oxygen levels throughout the body and the heart has to work furiously to try to keep the body oxygenated.
Since smoking remains one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease, quitting is the single most important step you can take to improve your heart health. It's important to remember that quitting is a process and it may take multiple tries to be successful. Don't be discouraged if you slip up. Just get back on track and keep trying. Talk to a professional about different methods to help you quit.
For years, we've been told that a well-balanced diet is a key to good health. But what if it isn't enough anymore? In the past, we could rely on food to provide us with all the nutrients we need. But now, due to the depletion of natural vitamins and minerals in our soil, combined with modern farming methods, we can no longer depend on food alone to meet our nutrient needs.
Formulas such as potassium, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and a B vitamin complex can help fill in the gaps and restore your body with the nourishment it needs. Liquid minerals are also a great option for older adults and those who dislike swallowing several pills or capsules each day.
Have questions? Ask our amazing Customer Support team how you can get started.
Note: If you are considering starting a new supplement or medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects.
Know Your Numbers
Measure the numbers that matter on a regular basis. It’s important to keep an eye on your body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. If you don't, you’re at risk for serious health problems.
Sometimes it's easy to forget or ignore these numbers. We might think we're feeling fine, so we don't pay attention to them. Or we might not like what they’re telling us, so we try to ignore it. But what exactly can happen if we let these numbers get out of control?
The most common problem associated with heart health for seniors is high blood pressure. When left untreated, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to many serious health complications, including stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.
That's why it's so important to monitor your health closely. Even if you may not feel like you’re at risk, the numbers don't lie. So, remember to get your regular checkups.
You Can’t Beat a Healthy Heart
By following these heart-healthy tips, older adults can greatly improve their heart health and reduce their risk of heart disease. Remember, it's never too late to start - and small changes can make a big difference in the long run.