Heart disease is one of, if not the, most common health issue facing people today. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. And worldwide, 1 in 4 people die of heart disease – and 80 percent of them are over the age of 65.
“Since such a huge percentage of those with heart disease are seniors, it’s incredibly important for all older adults to have an understanding of heart-healthy habits and what needs to be done to keep our cardiovascular systems in good shape as we age,” says Greg Lazzaro, Life Enrichment Director of Waterstone at the Circle, “Fortunately, heart disease can often be prevented through good lifestyle habits. By looking for opportunities to improve our habits with an eye towards our hearts, seniors can easily take steps to age well and remain as healthy as possible.”
There are many reasons why the risk of heart disease increases as we get older, says Greg. “One of the biggest reasons is that exercise becomes more difficult for older bodies,” he says. “Most gyms and fitness centers cater to individuals in the prime of their life, and often the equipment, classes or exercises aren’t appropriate for seniors. They may become injured more easily, or simply don’t have the energy they used to in order to keep up an exhausting fitness routine.”
Even things like preparing healthy meals can become difficult as we age, if it’s difficult to get out of the house or if it’s simply too much work to go to the grocery store. “Nutrition fuels every aspect of healthy living, which is why it’s so important for seniors to eat well,” Greg says. “It’s also a major aspect of heart-healthy living.
“We designed Waterstone at the Circle to provide heart-healthy options so it’s easy for active, independent seniors to remain that way. Our partnership with Train Boston®– the area’s premier training and physical therapy center – allows us to provide fitness and wellness activities that are appropriate for our residents’ needs. Our gourmet dining experience is not just delicious, but also nutritionally balanced and adapted to any residents’ dietary needs. And with the Boston Internists performing personalize care right in our residents’ homes, getting medical assistance has never been easier.”
In honor of American Heart Month, we’ve put together the top heart health tips to help you or your loved one stay healthy in your senior years ...or at any age.
7 Heart-Healthy Tips for Seniors
1. Get regular exercise.
You don’t have to pump weights or run a 5K every day in order to stay in shape. In fact, studies show that just 30 minutes a day – and you can even split that time up – helps boost mood, improve brain function and, of course, improve cardiovascular health. Even moderate exercise has an incredible result on your overall well-being, and there’s no “wrong” way to exercise. The best thing to do is just get moving – take a daily walk, spend an hour in the garden or do some reps with soup cans (you don’t even need actual weights). Pick something that you can do easily and enjoy so that you don’t run the risk of burnout or injury. As you become more used to exercising, you can work up the intensity to the level that works for you.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet.
Your diet has the second-biggest impact on heart health. Make informed choices at mealtime – fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. Avoid processed or packaged food as much as possible, and eat fatty meats and sugar sparingly.
3. Stop smoking.
Smoking is incredibly damaging to your cardiovascular system, so if you’re a smoker, the sooner you can quit, the better. Studies show that your heart rate and blood pressure drop to normal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette – and that’s just the beginning of the benefits. It goes without saying that if you don’t smoke already ... don’t start!
4. Get regular check-ups.
Health problems are more common as we age, which is why it’s important to have regular checkups with your doctor. Staying on top of your health can help doctors catch any developing health issues (like high blood pressure) before it becomes a significant issue.
5. Practice meditation.
The mind-body connection is incredibly strong, which is why the wellness practice of meditation has become so popular in the past few years. Studies show that meditating each day can help calm the mind, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and provide a sense of well-being. It’s a simple exercise that anyone can do – although beginners may want to try guided meditations to start.
6. Limit alcohol consumption.
Raising a glass or two on a special occasion won’t throw your health into a whirl. However, drinking on a daily basis or drinking to excess can cause high blood pressure along with a slew of other health issues. Seniors should be careful to keep their drinking to a minimum (and if you don’t already drink, don’t start).
7. Stay social.
Heart disease isn’t just caused by physical factors. It can also be caused by emotional factors like depression, stress and loneliness. It’s not uncommon for seniors to become lonely and socially isolated as their social circle shrinks or heath issues make it difficult for them to get out as often as they like. However, moving to a community like Waterstone at the Circle can help seniors remain active, independent and socially active – because they’re in a community of like-minded peers who are excited about this stage of their life, too.
The good news is that heart disease isn’t a foregone conclusion of aging. Yes, genetic factors do contribute to your risk, but it’s controllable factors – nutrition, exercise, sleep habits – that play the biggest role. Best of all, it’s never too late to make a change. Even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life, adopting some of these simple habits can greatly improve your health for the better.
If you’d like to learn more about heart-healthy habits, or if you’re wondering how a luxury senior living community like Waterstone at the Circle can help you live an active and fulfilled life, contact us today at 617.431.1880.
Luxury Senior Living in Boston
Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it’s a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill.
Elegant Independent Living Apartments
Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.
Senior Living Supportive Services
As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.
The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.
Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring. . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premiere Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!