Senior Diet and Fitness Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Heart

Apr 16, 2024

Resident does yoga on Admiral lawn

The likelihood of developing coronary heart disease and suffering from heart failure increases with age. Normal aging processes can cause changes in the heart and blood vessels that lead to heart disease, but lifestyle is a more important factor when it comes to evaluating your risk. Fortunately, if you’re aged 65 and older, there are things you can do to reduce or even reverse the possibility of developing heart conditions down the line.

At The Admiral by the Lake, we make wellness a priority to help you live your life in retirement to the fullest, with healthy meal options in our dining room, an onsite fitness center, group exercise classes, and an indoor heated pool.

Risk factors for heart disease

While aging itself is a risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, plaque build-up in the coronary arteries, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic heavy alcohol use are other primary risk factors. These issues could be hereditary, but can also stem from unhealthy lifestyles and habits.

Heart-healthy tips for senior diets

Improving your diet can go a long way in reducing risk to your heart and improving your heart health.

  • Eat plant-based foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and legumes. Choose a colorful variety of fruits and veggies to maximize nutrient intake.
  • Choose whole foods rather than processed or packaged foods. These tend to be low in nutrients and high in calories, saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars.
  • Choose lean sources of protein, such as eggs, beans, seafood, and skinless cuts of poultry. Try salmon, herring, tuna, and trout to benefit from omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health.
  • Replace unhealthy fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Found in a variety of nuts and seeds, canola and olive oils or avocado, these can help lower bad cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease.
  • Watch salt intake. Adults should have no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Limiting your sodium intake even further to 1,500 mg per day could reduce blood pressure even more.
  • Be mindful of your portion sizes. Keeping portion sizes in check can help you maintain a healthy weight which directly correlates with a reduced risk for heart disease.
  • Drink plenty of water. Older adults can be at risk for dehydration. When you’re properly hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to keep blood flowing throughout your body.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation. Alcohol may raise your blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Women should have no more than one drink per day. Men shouldn’t have more than two drinks each day.

Heart-healthy exercise tips for seniors

Cardio exercise can help you maintain and improve heart health. It uses large muscle groups to get your heart pumping. Exercise can also help you maintain balance and flexibility, reduce the impact of chronic disease, improve mood and even decrease stress.

  • Walking is a perfect way to exercise. This form of low-impact cardio requires no special equipment. Not only is walking a great way to explore your surroundings but it’s also a perfect social activity. Instead of chatting with a friend over coffee, try chatting while walking!
  • Join a senior fitness class. Exercising with others can be motivating, fun and a great way to meet new people.
  • Take up water aerobics or swimming. Working out in water reduces strain on the body’s joints and is an excellent way to get cardiovascular exercise.
  • Hit the gym for stair climbing, rowing, or stationary biking while listening to music or an audiobook.
  • Get creative with your cardio! Dancing, tennis, and hiking are also excellent ways to workout. Find a friend to exercise with and try new activities to keep things interesting. There are so many ways to stay engaged and excited about exercise.

Stay healthy in retirement with our wellness amenities

The Admiral at the Lake has over 300 residents who are active, intellectually curious, and passionate about the world. Schedule a personalized tour to explore our wellness facilities and programs, and meet our residents.