6 Secrets to Feeling Young at HeartHeart Health
Age is just a number when you’re young at heart. This is a great motto to live by, but staying young at heart, physically and emotionally, often takes some effort – and positive energy.
“Exercise is truly ‘the best medicine.’ No matter how old you are, cardiac function is improved by regular exercise,” said Dr. Joseph P. Carrozza, Jr., chief of cardiovascular medicine at Steward Health Care. “We live in a stressful world. Keeping a positive attitude reduces stress and lowers the toxic effects of stress hormones.”
Here are some great ideas to stay feeling young at heart at any age.
- Walk. Walking is great for your heart – and it’s easy to squeeze into your daily routine. In the morning it is a good way to ease into your day and prepare yourself for what’s ahead. Walking after meals may have the added benefit of helping control blood sugar spikes after you eat.
- Get outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine are good for the body and spirit. A brief time in the sun (10 minutes is enough) can help ensure you have healthy levels of vitamin D, which has many potential health benefits including protection from high blood pressure.
- Eat heart-healthy foods. Your diet is likely the greatest influence on the health of your heart. Stick to foods low in sodium (salt) and high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also limit saturated and trans fats commonly found in fatty meats, fried foods and cookies.
- Connect with others and let them know you care. Spending time with others can give you a lift, and that’s good for your heart, too. Whether it’s helping a friend through a difficult time, or planning a game night with family or friends, connecting with others is rewarding to your emotional health.
- Try out new technology. Often new technology can be intimidating or frustrating until you learn the ropes. These feelings are normal but it’s important not to let them stop you from trying new things. In many cases, new technology can help make your life easier and help you connect with others.
- Get a good night’s rest. Sleep is an essential part of keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition. People who sleep less than six hours a night are at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke. Sleep apnea can also be especially dangerous, causing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure during sleep. Talk to your doctor if you have reason to believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
Keep your heart in good shape with expert care. Schedule an appointment with a physician to have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked.
“As with all machines, routine maintenance is critical for keeping your ‘pump’ working efficiently,” added Carrozza.
Your physician can also offer additional advice to keep your heart younger no matter your age.
* Source: Diabetes Care, June 11, 2013.
*Source: Mayo Clinic, mayoclinic.com
*Source: European Heart Journal, 2011.
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