With the Olympics in full swing, we sit in awe of the athleticism, physical fitness, and endurance of these Olympians. While we may never quite reach that level, but it is still important that we take care of our bodies, and most importantly, our hearts.
February is American Heart Month, so we’d like to share some heart-healthy tips for aging Americans.
Heart Healthy Foods
For aging adults, your body starts to need fewer calories to sustain yourself. However, you still need all those nutrients for a healthy heart. Nutrient-rich foods contain vitamins and minerals that your body needs, while also having fewer calories. It’s a win-win!
Heart-healthy foods include:
Fruits & Vegetables | The more ‘rainbow-colored’ your means can be, the more your heart will thank you. From leafy greens to brightly colored berries, fruits and veggies are a natural source of healthy and necessary nutrients.
Low-fat dairy products | Milk, yogurt, and cheese contain calcium, but also protein, vitamins, iodine and zinc that are key for strong bones and teeth but also can protect against high blood pressure and some cancers.
Fish & Poultry | Compared to red meats, fish and poultry, contain have less cholesterol and less saturated fats.
No matter your age, physical activities are an important part of keeping a healthy heart. Thirty minutes a day is all it takes to lower your blood pressure and keep your cholesterol levels in check. Not to mention, it just feels good!
Aerobics is the best exercise for your heart. Aerobic exercise gets your blood flowing, which is good for your whole body, but especially for your heart! Aging adults should participate in aerobic exercises like brisk walking, gardening, and housework. Water aerobics is especially beneficial for aging adults as it takes the pressure off your joints and allows your whole body to get a great work out.
Whether you’re an Olympic athlete, newborn baby or aging adult, sleep is one of the most important ways to stay healthy. A lack of sleep can worsen high blood pressure. Research suggests six to eight hours of sleep is necessary to allow your body to rejuvenate. Ensure a good night sleep by drinking less caffeine and avoiding sleep medications. Train your body to fall asleep naturally and you can lower your blood pressure and avoid the risk of strokes. Turning off the television before sleep can help put your mind in a peaceful place before drifting into a deep snooze. Check out these Olympian’s sleep secrets.
While you may not be training for Tokyo or Beijing, it’s important to keep your eye on the prize: your health.