8 ways retirees can boost their heart health

May 14, 2020

From knowing the right foods to eat, to becoming more active, here’s what you can do to look after your heart in retirement —full stop!

  1. Prioritise Your Happiness

Research has linked depression, stress and anxiety with heart disease. People who report living a relaxed and happy retirement are generally in better heart health. And here’s something to laugh about: Science has confirmed laughter can really be the best medicine. Laughter will expand your vessels while stimulating blood flow—so get your daily dose of giggles!

  1. Get Moving!

According to research by the Heart Research Institute Australia, 90 per cent of Australians have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. One key factor is inactivity or lack of physical exercise. It is recommended to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day. This may sound like a daunting task. Remember every journey begins with a single step! Try building your daily activity level up gradually to the recommended 30 minutes per day. If you don’t feel like going for a walk, there are plenty of other activities for older people that can be incorporated such as yoga, tai chi or even dance to keep your routine fresh.

  1. Eat The Right Foods

Food is essential to healthy heart function. Carrying excess weight will put strain on your heart, and can lead to range of other illnesses. That’s why it’s so important to limit your intake of salty and sugary foods, while eating a balanced diet with a range of lean foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains and legumes. While saturated and trans fats in ‘junk’ food and fatty animal meat contributes to heart issues, not all fats a bad. ‘Good’ fats, found in foods like avocados, fish and nuts can help keep your ticker in peak condition.

  1. Cut Back on Alcohol

Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting prohibition! Although research has linked one standard glass of red wine per day with some heart benefits, consuming anything more will harm your overall health. So, why not show some love to your heart? Just avoid drinking excessively and try having at least two alcohol-free days per week.

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, which puts excess strain on your cardiovascular system. While our sleep patterns vary, try and get a solid 7-9 hours a night to maintain a healthy heart.

  1. Clean Your Teeth

We don’t often associate our dental health with heart health. But studies have shown people suffering gum disease are actually more at risk of heart attacks and serious cardiovascular problems. Don’t become part of that group. All it takes is a good old fashioned brushing of your teeth twice a day to dramatically lower your risk.

  1. Visit Your GP Regularly

We all know how important regular health check-ups are. But as we age, it becomes essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Visiting your GP will ensure factors like your blood pressure, cholesterol level and waistline can be monitored to detect any problems early.

  1. Recognise the Warning Signs

While it’s never a hot topic, it’s vital to know some of the warning signs that precede a heart attack. These include chest discomfort and pain (angina), dizziness, light headedness, nausea, indigestion, vomiting, shortness of breath, excessive sweating or a cold sweat. If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to call 000 quickly because every second counts.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors, please consult your own legal, financial or health advisors before making any decisions.

Want more great tips and ideas for retirement living?

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