It is fairly common knowledge that we experience a lot of changes as we begin to age. Just like our joints and other muscles, our hearts can begin to feel the years of bad health decisions as keenly as every other part of our body.
Unfortunately, for many, heart conditions do not become known until well into adulthood. Geriatric medicine is oftentimes a form of treatment meant to support heart health, but there is plenty you can do before heart disease strikes to better protect yourself.
With February being National Heart Month, now is the perfect time to consider keeping your heart healthy as you age. Your team at Family Medicine and Geriatric Center has a few tips to help you prevent heart disease.
Tips for Protecting Your Heart Health & Preventing Heart Disease
1. Consider Strength Training
The unfortunate reality is that you do lose muscle mass as you age, which can make exercising a bit harder. This can, ultimately, result in less exercise and your heart suffering as a result of inactivity.
Depending on any previous injuries suffered, this can mean older adults may need help with performing simple tasks and being less mobile. When a loved one is unable to move as readily, they may begin to add on weight, which can create more stress on the heart.
The best way to combat this physical decline is to start with simple strength training exercises. Even older adults can still benefit from gentle strengthening exercises without special equipment. In fact, there are plenty of great bodyweight exercises that can help to build strength and maintain muscle.
For instance, wall push-ups are a great alternative to floor push-ups. You can also ask your doctor or a personal trainer who specializes in geriatric care if they can help you find the best exercises for your needs.
2. Focus On Flexibility
As we age, we also begin to suffer from stiffness, which leads to higher risks of falling and other complications. Adding simple stretching exercises to your daily routine, however, can help to improve your flexibility and stabilizing muscles.
Exercise routines like yoga or Tai chi can help boost flexibility, are gentle for older individuals, and can be modified if necessary for those suffering from conditions like arthritis. These forms of gentle exercise can also help to protect heart health.
Ultimately, stretching is a great way to maintain physical abilities. Even if you’re out of shape, stretching is a good starting point to build your body and stamina.
3. Aim for 30 Minutes of Exercise a Day
While 30 minutes a day can seem like a lot, this will add up very quickly while you’re doing your daily tasks. A brisk walk or a bike ride are great ways to exercise.
If this is a bit too much time for you, even basic chores like making your bed or cleaning up can help contribute to your exercise goal for the day. You can also try to walk to any destination you can easily reach on foot.
The goal should be to find activities you enjoy and that fit into your daily routine. Once you get started, you may be surprised to realize just how much you do without thinking about it.
4. Prioritize Your Heart Health
A healthy heart makes exercising much easier, and with February being National Heart Month, now’s the chance to prioritize your heart health.
Add cardiovascular exercises to your routine; they don’t need to necessarily be running or other intense activities. Instead, talk to your doctor or personal trainer about low-impact cardio exercise that can be right for you as you age.
Key to all this is checking in with your doctor frequently so they can keep an eye on the health of your heart.
5. Visit Your Doctor
Regular visits to your doctor can help maintain your physical health and prevent heart disease or other serious conditions. By visiting your family physician, you’ll be able to make sure your exercise routine is going well and also catch any problems early.
Your health needs will change no matter how well your goal of combating physical decline is going, so when necessary, consider switching to a doctor that specializes in geriatric care.
An Edinburg Family Doctor Here for You!
Family Medicine and Geriatric Care specializes in helping older individuals stay healthy as they age. Start combating heart disease today! The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see your health improve, no matter your age.