Boomer Wellness - Successful Aging Through Education
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Heart Health, Part 5

 
I am so glad to be back writing after an absence due to shoulder surgery. 
 
I had mentioned the importance of physical activity as a preventative tool in Heart Health, Part 2.  I conclude this series of posts on the subject by exploring specific ways in which your heart can benefit by being physically active.  Not sure where or how to begin?  Check out my useful tips at the end of this post.
 
How does physical activity keep your heart healthy?
 
  • The more active you are, the more likely you are to lose weight.  We know that there is a direct link between obesity and heart disease.  Extra weight causes the heart to work much harder than it normally does.  Check in with your doctor to determine what the correct weight is for your height and body type.
  • Physical activity helps to lower your cholesterol, especially the LDL (bad cholesterol).  This is important because your chances of heart disease increase when your cholesterol level is too high.  Specifically, the the cholesterol builds up, clogging your arteries.  This makes it difficult for the blood to travel to the heart where it is needed in order for it to function properly.
  • Keeping the body in motion reduces stress, depression, and blood pressure. 
 
Are you now convinced of the benefits of staying physically active but do not know where or how to begin?  Listed below are some very doable tips to help you achieve your goal:
 
  • First and foremost, ALWAYS check with your doctor before begining any kind of exercise program.  This is especially important if you have been "out of the loop" for a while.
  • Start out SLOWLY!  Do not expect to be signing up to run in your first marathon right away!  Start by walking for five minutes each day, adding time as you feel comfortable.  Even though the recommendation is 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week, build up to it.  Also, remember that you do not have to do all 30 minutes at one time, which is a nice perk!
  • Depending on how mobile you are, you can make a few simple changes each day such as taking stairs instead of the elevator; getting up to turn the channels on your television; and parking a little farther away in parking lots at stores or banks.
  • Choose an activity you enjoy!  Walking on a treadmill can get boring quite quickly.  You are less likely to stick to the activity if you do not like it!  Check in with your local senior center, library, Town Parks Department, or YMCA to see what might be appealing to you.  Many of these entitites offer activities designed specifically for mature persons. 
  • Search the internet for walking, biking, hiking, or skiing clubs you may wish to join.  Better yet, start a group yourself!  You will be more likely to show up for an activity if you know that you have others waiting for you.  Keep in mind that research demonstrates that  individuals gain many health benefits when they socialize with others.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012), heart disease is the primary cause of death in adults 65 years of age and older.  The good news is that we can take many proactive steps to keep our hearts as healthy as possible.  If you missed any of my previous posts on this topic, I encourage you to catch up with your reading right here on this blog.  Remember, taking care of your heart now is an investment in your future!  If you have any questions or I can help you achieve your goals, please contact me at susanjhurt@gmail.com
 
 
 
 
 

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