During the month of February, the U.S. government encourages state and local leaders to promote programs and events that educate people about heart health and give them the information they need to make heart-healthy choices in their everyday lives. In that spirit, American Senior Communities would like to do our part by sharing some information with you about some lifestyle changes you can make today that can have a positive impact on your heart health in the future.
Cut Out the Salt
High-sodium foods like french fries, potato chips and deli meats may taste great but they’re not good for your heart. When you eat too much salt, it reduces the ability of your kidneys to remove water from your bloodstream. This excess buildup of fluid can significantly increase your blood pressure, putting tremendous strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, excessive salt consumption can lead to heart disease and other health problems, so most doctors agree that cutting down on salt in your diet is a good idea for people of all ages. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your salt consumption without losing flavor, try using herbs and spices to add interesting new flavors to your cooking.
Tobacco use is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, and the risks only increase the longer you smoke. Not only does nicotine cause the blood vessels to constrict (increasing blood pressure and weakening the heart muscle), inhaling smoke also does significant damage to the lungs, decreasing their ability to oxygenate your blood and setting off a chain reaction of other unhealthy effects. If you’re a tobacco user and you want to do something major to improve your heart health, we advise you to quit right away.
Get More Exercise
Your heart is a muscle and just like any other muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it will be. To properly exercise your heart muscle, doctors recommend you engage in at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity every day. If you think jogging is the only way to get your cardio in, think again; there are lots of fun, low-impact ways to work out your heart, so talk to your doctor about ways to exercise that are appropriate for your age and fitness level. At American Senior Communities, we provide our New Energy Wellness program to help our residents and members of our community stay in shape!
These are just a few ways to improve your heart health, so if you’re looking for more information, talk to your doctor about your concerns. In addition, many hospitals and health care providers hold special events like free screenings during American Heart Month, so get on the web and find out what’s happening in your area! From all of us at American Senior Communities, we wish you a happy American Heart Month!