The heart is the most important muscle in the human body. It’s the pump that circulates blood and oxygen to all your organs, tissues, and cells. It’s also responsible for supplying your muscles with energy. Below we provide vital tips for improving your heart health as you age into your golden years. We hope this article inspires you to take hold of your health and keep improving.
Increase Heart Rate Daily
It all starts with the heart! Healthy heart, healthy body, healthy mind. The Center for Disease Control states seniors need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity. Plain and simple, you have to get your heart rate up daily for optimal longevity.
The great news is that there are countless ways seniors can build up a sweat while having fun. Try swimming a dozen laps in the pool and treading water for a ten-minute cooldown. You’ll be surprised how your heart thumps rhythmically in the water at ease.
We also suggest utilizing one of your workouts to fulfill a social fix. Tennis, volleyball, and yoga are just a few endless aerobic activities you can do with your friends. By the way, have you played pickleball yet? It’s the new craze among people 55 plus. Here is a breakdown of pickleball rules for singles and doubles. We suggest you try it since it’s an annual sport with indoor and outdoor courts.
Stay hydrated! It seems like simple advice, right? But the reality is that dehydration is a real risk for the elderly. Seniors take more prescription drugs than any other age demographic, and many medications cause dehydration. Additionally, life is busy, even for retirees, and staying hydrated is often overlooked or ignored.
So how much water should a senior drink per day? Interestingly, the answer depends on your body weight rather than age. Here is a water intake chart by weight. Also, be careful not to confuse drinking coffee for water. The two are not interchangeable, as coffee can even increase dehydration.
Garden and Home Maintenance
Have you heard of blue zones? They are five places on earth with the most centenarians (people that live into their hundreds). One interesting commonality in all blue zones is gardening. The residents in these communities go outside daily to plant, trim, dig, and get their hands dirty.
A benefit to gardening is the ample amount of vitamin D from sunshine. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin D is a nutrient your body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties support immune health, muscle function, and brain cell activity.
Vitamin D isn’t the only benefit of getting out there and using the hoe and ax. “Reaping what you sow” is an important concept in the human psyche. We take great pride in the creation process, and gardening is a beautiful representation of one’s hard work coming to fruition. Eating a juicy tomato off the vine you planted provides a feeling of purpose and satisfaction.
Social isolation is a serious danger to seniors living alone or with limited access to transportation. Solitariness in any age group can be detrimental, especially for seniors, since their social circles tend to be smaller. After all, the children are out of the house, friends have relocated to warmer retirement destinations, and we’ve said goodbye to loved ones.
The best way to meet new people is to get involved in your local community. Attending church, volunteering, or even working a part-time job in a public place will force you to leave the house and interact. Many seniors are stuck at home because they no longer drive. Consider hiring a home care agency to help with your transportation needs. While you are out for the day, they can also clean your home and do meal prep to make your life easier.
Eat Leafy Greens
Momma always said, “eat your greens!” Why? Because leafy greens are essential to a healthy diet by providing nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. They also contain fiber and are low in calories, helping to keep off that stubborn belly weight seniors tend to earn in their golden years. Many different types of leafy green are available at the store, including spinach, kale, arugula, chard, collards, and mustard greens. Toss them in salads or crisp them on the grill and sprinkle on your pasta.Interestingly, leafy greens can also help prevent dementia and cognitive decline. As reported by AAPR, researchers compared study participants who ate around 1½ servings of greens a day with those who ate less than a serving a day and found that the rate of cognitive decline among those who consumed the most was the equivalent of being 11 years younger (in terms of brain health).