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7 Heart Healthy Tips for Aging Adults



It is important to prioritize your heart health at every age, but it is especially important for aging adults. Aging adults are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, but there are many lifestyle changes and habits we can make that can help us keep our heart strong and healthy. Here are 7 heart-healthy tips specifically tailored to the needs of aging adults.


1. Maintain a Heart-Healthy Diet

A balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for heart health at any age, but it becomes especially important as we grow older. Aging adults should focus on:

  • Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables: These are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. I would recommend having 2 to 3 servings daily of fruits and vegetables with each serving the size of your palm.
  • Choosing whole grains: Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal provide fiber and nutrients that support heart health.
  • Limiting saturated and trans fats: These fats can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease, so it's essential to limit them in your diet.
  • Watching portion sizes: As metabolism slows with age, it's important to manage portion sizes to avoid excess calorie intake and weight gain. Use your palm as a reference for you portion size.

2. Stay Active with Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining heart health as you age. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Pick activities you enjoy and ones that make your heartbeat faster, your muscles stronger, and your muscles and joints more flexible. Some activities to consider include brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, group cardio sessions, YouTube cardiovascular exercise videos that are age appropriate, along with muscle-strengthening and weight bearing exercises such as resistance training on two or more days per week.

Exercise can help:

  • Strengthen the heart muscle.
  • Improve circulation.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Manage weight.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Reduce fall risk.
  • Improve muscle tone.
  • Reduce aches and pains and muscle spasms.
  • Reduce injury.

Please make an appointment with your primary care doctor or advanced practice provider* (APP) before beginning an exercise program.

3. Manage Stress Levels

Chronic stress can take a toll on heart health, so it's important for aging adults to find healthy ways to manage stress. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and tai chi can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Engaging in hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and practicing mindfulness are also great stress management strategies. Getting adequate sleep without using sleep aids is also very important. Socializing can avoid depression and help manage stress. Speaking to a counselor or therapist about your stress can also be of benefit.

4. Get Quality Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for overall health, including heart health. Poor sleep can contribute to high blood pressure, obesity, and other risk factors for heart disease. Aging adults should aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night by establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and creating a comfortable sleep environment. Avoid watching television and any other screen time 2 hours before bed. Also avoid drinking coffee, tea, soda or juice before going to bed as these can keep you awake and increase your need to wake up at night to use the bathroom.

5. Monitor Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels

Regular monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol levels is crucial for detecting and managing heart health issues. Aging adults should work with their doctor or APP to establish target blood pressure and cholesterol levels and develop a plan for monitoring and managing these levels through medication, diet, and lifestyle changes.

6.Stay Socially Active

Maintaining social connections and staying engaged with your friends, family and community can have a positive impact on heart health. Social interactions can help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, which are all risk factors for heart disease. Make plans to stay socially active by joining clubs, volunteering or participating in social events.

7. Schedule Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups with your doctor or APP are key for monitoring your heart health and addressing any concerns or symptoms as early as possible. During check-ups, they can assess your overall health, review your medications, and discuss any changes in your lifestyle or symptoms that may affect your heart health.

As we age, it's important to make our heart health a top priority. You can do this through a combination of healthy lifestyle choices and regular medical care. By following these heart-healthy tips, you can help keep your heart strong and reduce your risk of heart disease while you enjoy your golden years. Remember that it's never too late to start making positive changes for your heart health, and small steps can lead to significant improvements in your overall well-being.

*An advanced practice provider is defined as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.


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