Part of the journey of aging is discovering how we can support our health to help us enjoy our favourite activities for as long as possible. A key player in this department is the heart, which is one of the body’s most important organs. For seniors living in a retirement community in the Okanagan, taking care of the heart is an important way of making the golden years count with a healthy, fulfilling, and independent lifestyle. Continue reading to explore the role that the heart plays in the body, and to glean tips about improving heart health in your senior years.

What Does the Heart Do?

Similar to an engine, the heart’s job is to keep everything in the body running smoothly, delivering oxygen and nutrients to all of its organs and tissues. In a nutshell, the heart is responsible for keeping us alive and ticking!

Signs of a Healthy Heart

For seniors, signs of a healthy heart might be less readily noticeable than the signs of an unhealthy heart. That said, some of the common indicators of a healthy heart include: regular heart rate; stable blood pressure; sufficient energy levels; clear thinking; an active lifestyle; normal sleep patterns; and healthy digestion. By making healthy lifestyle choices, seniors can support the vitality of their heart and prevent the onset of cardiovascular conditions. Let’s dive into some of those healthy habits and the measures that seniors can take to champion their heart health. 

Get Regular Blood Pressure Readings

The first step in caring for the heart is learning how it is performing and staying up to date on blood pressure readings. By monitoring blood pressure, seniors can catch any fluctuations to heart health early on, allowing them to understand the state of their heart health before taking the right steps to support it. High blood pressure, if left unchecked, can put a strain on the heart and lead to serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. With regular readings, seniors can work with their healthcare providers to develop personalized strategies for managing blood pressure, whether it’s through lifestyle changes, medication, or other interventions. Blood pressure readings can be done at a community pharmacy, at the doctor’s office, and at home, via at-home blood pressure monitors. Those with high blood pressure or irregular blood pressure readings might want to consider investing in an at-home monitor to make it easy to check often.

Get Regular Exercise 

Staying physically active is important for seniors for a number of reasons, but particularly for keeping a happy heart. Moving the body helps to strengthen the heart muscle, improve circulation, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels—all things that lead to improved overall heart health. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll in the park, a gentle yoga class, or an energizing pickleball game, there are plenty of ways for seniors to move in a way that is meaningful to them. Plus, exercise is a fantastic mood booster, as it helps the body release those feel-good endorphins while also supporting seniors’ mobility. At Sun Village Retirement Residence, a robust activities calendar makes movement convenient and fun, with group classes that are friendly for all levels of fitness.

Load Up On Heart-Healthy Foods

What we eat plays a significant role in heart health, and seniors can support their hearts by filling their plates with nutritious foods. Think colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (like chicken, fish, and turkey), and healthy fats from sources like nuts, seeds, and avocados. Incorporating heart-healthy foods into meals not only nourishes the body, but it also helps manage weight, reduce inflammation, fuel the mind, and lower the risk of heart disease. At Sun Village Retirement Residence, three delicious meals are served daily by a team of talented chefs, making it easier for seniors to meet daily nutrition goals while enjoying the company of friends.

Manage Stress

While stress is a natural, unavoidable part of life, too much of it can wreak havoc on the heart. Seniors can support their heart health by incorporating stress management techniques into their daily routines. A few of the ways that seniors can manage stress is through: meditation; reading; listening to music; prioritizing sleep; reducing caffeine; participating in yoga or a guided stretch; and spending time in nature. Finding moments of calm and relaxation not only helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, but it also leads to a better quality of life. Everyone tolerates stress differently, and those who experience chronic stress and anxiety might consider speaking to a medical professional who can find the root cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Stay Socially Connected

The benefits of connecting with friends and loved ones run much deeper than just elevating mood; seniors who maintain close social ties with friends, family, and community members tend to stress less, have elevated emotional well-being, and in turn, have healthier hearts. For residents of a Penticton retirement community, there are plenty of ways to foster new connections. From shared spaces and a communal dining room, to an exciting calendar of organized events, the possibilities for seniors to socialize and expand their networks are endless.

Ready to explore what life is like at a retirement community in the Okanagan? Book a tour of Sun Village Retirement Residence to explore our stylish suites, inviting shared spaces, and to learn more about the enhanced services and amenities available. Residents of Sun Village enjoy: a robust activities calendar; exquisite daily dining; professional maintenance; regular housekeeping; and more.