5 heart-healthy tips for retirees

You are never too old to look after your heart health.

February is Heart Health Month – the perfect time to raise awareness about heart disease and share a few heart-healthy tips for retirees. No matter your age, you can help prevent heart disease and lower your risk of a heart attack by embracing a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Heart disease is a broad term for many heart-related problems or conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. It is one of the leading causes of death in Australia.

There is no one cause of heart disease, but some lifestyle factors and medical conditions might increase your risk of developing it. Heart disease can lead to chronic health problems that require ongoing or lifelong care.

The good news is that many cases of heart disease, no matter your age, can be prevented by simply adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.

How do you keep your heart healthy?

1. Follow a heart-healthy diet

Eating a well-balanced diet can improve your concentration and help to prevent a wide variety of health conditions, including heart disease. Consider a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein-rich foods and healthy fats and oils. Avoid too many processed foods, unhealthy fats, salt and added sugar.

Selected RetireAustralia villages offer freshly prepared, well balanced, nutritional meals, making it easy for you to eat well.

2. Move more

Keeping active can help control common heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also helps to strengthen our bones and muscles and best of all it makes us feel good!

Moving more or exercising doesn’t mean you need to join a gym. Retirement villages are hubs of social activity. Check out your village activities calendar for low impact activities like walking, aqua aerobics, zumba, yoga, pilates and tai chi. It is much easier to stay motivated when you exercise with someone else.

Locate your nearest RetireAustralia community and see what activities they have on offer.

3. Quit smoking

Smoking damages the blood vessels leading to your heart, brain and other parts of your body. It also reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood. The best thing you can do for your heart health, and the people around you, is to quit. The good news is the risks to your heart will start to decrease if you do.

4. Monitor your cholesterol

Our bodies need cholesterol to function. But too much of the wrong type of cholesterol can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.

The first step to monitoring your cholesterol is to find out what your blood cholesterol levels are. Do this when you next visit your doctor. If your cholesterol levels are outside the normal range, your doctor will be able to advise you on an appropriate treatment plan, which might include dietary changes, exercise or medication.

5. Monitor your blood pressure

Care staff taking blood pressure

As we age, the chance of having high blood pressure increases. If your blood pressure is high over a long period of time, it puts you at greater risk of heart disease. As there are often no visible symptoms of high blood pressure, the only way of knowing, is by having your blood pressure checked regularly by a qualified health professional.

You can help keep your blood pressure in check by reducing your sodium (salt) intake, exercising and limiting your alcohol consumption.

After more information on heart health?

If you are worried about your heart health, visit your doctor for a heart health check. Your doctor can assess your risk factors and make a plan for you to manage them effectively.

If you are interested in finding out more about heart health and ways you can keep your heart healthy, visit the Heart Foundation website.

Find a community that warms your heart and keeps it healthy

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