healthy foods on table with measuring tape

Heart-Healthy Habits for Seniors

Of course, when it comes to seniors and heart health, it’s an incredibly important topic. As physical therapists, we understand the inherent need for seniors to be aware of living a heart-healthy lifestyle. In fact, being aware of beneficial cardiological habits is something we impress upon all of our patients, not just seniors. However, the risk of heart complications increases as we age. Therefore, it’s imperative to understand heart health the older you get.

Luckily, there are several proven ways to greatly enhance your heart health and prevent future complications. In physical therapy, there are numerous cardio-centric exercises that can give your heart a boost in efficiency. In this post, we’ll list a few reliable ways to increase your heart health and incorporate these habits into your everyday routine.

1. Get Moving!

Of course, it’s no secret that a boost in exercise will lead to a boost in both your mental and heart health. Work exercise into your routine, and do your best to commit to it. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be anything strenuous and crazy like weight lifting or running for miles at a time. The simplest way to do it? Just figure out ways to walk more! Physical therapy isn’t just about healing, restoring mobility or recovering from an injury. In addition, there are plenty of exercises designed to greatly improve your cardiovascular health.

Do your best to get at least thirty minutes of exercise, five days a week. You can even try gardening, swimming, tennis, yard work…anything to get you up and moving. Most seniors find that by actually placing exercise onto their schedules, it’s much easier to stay active. Therefore, their heart health flourishes in ways that feel effortless.

2. Monitor Your Cholesterol

A fat-like substance, cholesterol comes from two sources – food from animals (eggs, meat, etc.) and from within your body.  Research suggests that certain high-cholesterol foods like eggs and cheese contain specific variations of the substance that won’t negatively affect heart health. However, there are others (low-density lipoproteins) that you should avoid as much as you can.

Anything that’s deep-fried, like meats and cheese sticks — are high-cholesterol and should be avoided whenever possible. Also, fast food, processed meats, cookies, cakes, ice cream, pastries and other sweets are unhealthy and high in cholesterol, plus added sugars. In addition, they’re not only high in cholesterol and sugar, but completely devoid of any nutritional value. Talk to your physical therapist about the high-cholesterol foods best left avoided to improve your heart health if you have any further questions.

3. Eat More Produce

Did you know that research indicates that seniors who consume more fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t? Obviously, we all know that fruits and vegetables are the keys to an overall healthier lifestyle. Some are even considered “superfoods.” We’ve been told since elementary school to eat more of those and eat less sugar or fried, fatty foods. However, produce can be particularly beneficial for seniors.

A study indicated that seniors regularly consuming produce had significantly less cholesterol levels than their counterparts. Therefore, their risk of heart disease was lesser by default. Figure out which fruits and vegetables are your favorites and eat them as often as you can!

4. Stop Smoking

Do we really need to explain this one any further?

Conclusion – Lake Shore Physical Therapy

Everyone on our team does what we do because we’re passionate about helping our patients live healthier lifestyles. At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, we’re happy to consult with you on any and all topics you may be curious about – and that includes senior heart health. More than anything, we want to help in any way we can.