Staying Heart Healthy at Home

Dear Tacy:

My parents are both retired and starting to slow down a bit. I’m a little concerned that their more sedentary lifestyle is putting them at risk for heart problems. Do you have any tips you can share on how to keep your heart healthy as you grow older?

Ruth

Dear Ruth:

I do!

The team at The MacIntosh Company created a list of 9 steps adults can take to lower their risk for heart disease. We developed it to share with our friends throughout the Columbus area in honor of National Heart Month.

9 Tips for Improving Heart Health

Cardiac-related diseases continue to be the number one killer of both men and women in this country. We’d like to help educate adults on the disease and help to reverse this troubling trend.

Here are a few tips you can use to keep your heart healthy:

  1. Don’t skip breakfast. A healthy breakfast like oatmeal has many benefits. It is a great source of protein so it helps you feel full longer. Oatmeal is also high in fiber which is good for keeping your cholesterol on track.
  2. Mind your diet: Commit to following the Dash Diet or the Mediterranean Diet. Both are plant based and linked to lower rates of heart disease. You might want to help your parents plan a few weeks of healthy menus to get started.
  3. Make sleep a priority. Seniors often have bad sleep habits. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are more inclined to make bad food choices. Ask your parents to make a promise to you that they will get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
  4. Get moving! We’ve all heard it time and again, but exercise is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy. Chair Yoga is an activity your parents can perform in the privacy of their own living room. Or you can encourage them to take a 20 minute walk together each morning.
  5. Schedule a physical. If your parents haven’t had a physical in the last year, encourage them to schedule one. Medicare will cover one wellness visit each year. It gives their physician an opportunity to check their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar to spot any potential problems.
  6. Kick the habit. Today’s generation of seniors were often smokers growing up. If they haven’t done so already, work with them on quitting. Their primary care physician will likely have suggestions to help.
  7. Put down the salt shaker. Sodium and salt can both contribute to high blood pressure. Encourage your parents to cook with low-sodium spices and fresh herbs instead of salt.
  8. Limit alcohol consumption. While some experts say the Resveratrol in a glass of red wine can be good for your heart, don’t overdo it. Too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
  9. Drink green tea. Some experts believe the antioxidants in green tea help keep your arteries flexible which may help to prevent plaque from building up.

One last tip for you, Ruth is to visit the Getting Healthy section of the American Heart Association’s website. They have helpful resources ranging from nutrition to physical activity and smoking cessation.

Best Regards,

Tacy Bailey, Rehabilitation Manager