February is National Heart Health Month. Your heart is one of the most vital organs in your body. What have you been doing to take special care of it? If you are a caregiver, do you take extra steps to help your Senior keep their heart in shape? There are many simple ways of taking take care of your heart just by incorporating some good health practices into your normal routine. But before you do any of them, make sure to check with your doctor first.
Nutrition is an important aspect in determining how well you feel and how well your body performs. For many Seniors, problems such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol are impediments to good heart health. Here is a list of foods that can easily be added to any diet to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol:
- Fish: Salmon and Tuna
- Nuts: Almonds and Walnuts
- Sweets: Dark Chocolate
- Vegetables: Carrots, Spinach, Broccoli, Sweet Potato, Red Bell Peppers, Asparagus, and Tomatoes.
Exercise is key to maintaining a healthy heart. Remember, your heart is a muscle and it needs a work out! But it doesn’t have to be overly strenuous. Here are five easy exercises to start you on your track to a healthy heart:
- Walking: Walking is not only exercise but it promotes emotional well-being. Join a friend or family member for a stroll and take time to reconnect.
- Swimming: Often quoted as the best exercise for an aging body, swimming exerts minimal pressure on your joints.
- Biking: Stationary or not, biking is also low pressure option for your joints.
- Yoga: The perfect way to stretch your body and relax your mind.
- Lifting weights: Why not strengthen your body while you exercise your heart? Lifting weights can be done sitting down or standing up. A perfect exercise for those that might have limited mobility.
Stress is another factor that can lead to high blood pressure. Here are five tips to help reduce stress in your life:
- Plan: Take the time to plan your weekly activities and prioritize the things that are most important to get done. Don’t forget to schedule time to relax as well.
- Do something you love: Read a book or take your dog for a walk. Doing things you love will help reduce stress while you have fun!
- Call a friend: Engaging in a good conversation is a great way to relieve stress for both of you! Sometimes telling a friend about what’s on our mind is all we need to get a new perspective on our worries.
- Watch TV: Give yourself at least 30 minutes a couple times a week to just sit in front of the television and watch it. Do not try to multitask. Watching TV is another relaxing way to control stress, especially if you watch a light comedy or an enjoyable movie.
- Do a puzzle: Here’s an easy way to keep your problem solving skills sharp. Not only will you focus on the task at hand, but this activity is also beneficial to preventing dementia later in life!