3 Tips for Heart Healthy Aging on World Heart Day

With age 60 as the new 40 these days, Baby Boomers need to be armed with the tools to keep their hearts beating and healthy for years to come.

According to the World Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability, claiming 17.9 million lives a year. The good news is that there are small changes everyone can make to reduce the risk of CVD.


World Heart Day is Sept. 39

Become a ‘Heart Hero’ for World Heart Day

In honor of today’s World Heart Day, the World Heart Federation hopes to create “Heart Heroes” – people who are taking a stand to improve heart health. SKLD is proud to join in the effort to raise awareness and encourage individuals, families, communities and policymakers to take action to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help people everywhere live longer, better, heart-healthy lives.

There are so many ways to improve heart health in seniors, including: eating a healthy diet, exercising more regularly, quitting smoking and getting enough sleep. Being a heart hero means promising to make a few small changes in order to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and improve our quality of life.

Now is the time to take these words to heart:

1.  Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet

Eating a balanced diet sounds easy enough. The key, according to Hailey Syzmanski of SKLD Muskegon and SKLD Whitehall, is to focus on incorporating at least one heart healthy, nutritious change into your lifestyle. 

Hailey recommends following the guidance of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • Eat a balanced diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean protein sources.

  • Choose heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

  • Limit saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol intake.

  • Eat more plant-based or vegetarian meals using beans and soy foods for protein.

 2.  Limit Salt and Sugar

The higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk of health problems could be in the future. Living a heart-healthy life means taking extra precaution to ensure blood pressure is within a healthy range. A high intake of added sugars can increase obesity, which raises blood pressure. One way to be on top of this is to have a home blood pressure monitor. Similarly, limiting your salt and sugar intake is a definite step in the right direction toward keeping your blood pressure in the healthy range.

Matthew LaPointe, a registered dietitian at SKLD Zeeland, says he doesn’t expect seniors to change their entire diet around entirely. Instead, he “tries to give them one or two things they can work on. Sometimes this is as simple as trying not to add salt to their foods, reading food labels to check for sodium and limiting high sodium foods (canned soups, packaged/processed foods and microwavable meals).” All of this is to try to keep sodium intakes around ~2,000mg a day. A cardiac diet usually consists of a lower fat and lower cholesterol meat, as well as lower sodium foods. Matthew also recommends limiting desserts by eating fruit in place of sweets.

3.  Get Active

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight plays a major role in living a heart healthy life. Being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke. Even just 15 minutes of brisk walking can halve the risk of CVD mortality among seniors.  

By just making one of these small changes everyone can improve heart health!