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February 24, 2022

Heart healthy routines for seniors in retirement communities

By: Country Meadows | Wellness

Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and coronary heart disease are among the top common chronic conditions for adults over the age of 54 according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

While heart disease risks increase with age, the right lifestyle habits while living in retirement communities can help protect your precious heart.

Follow a heart-healthy diet

When combined with other healthy habits, eating a heart-healthy diet at retirement communities can help control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol.

Chefs at retirement communities choose healthy ingredients when planning menus. Dishes typically contain:

  • Plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes which are high in nutrients, including fiber. Fiber can aid in lowering cholesterol and helps people fell fuller longer, reducing weight gain.
  • Lean sources of protein such as beans, seafood, skinless poultry and fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, herring and tuna.

The best retirement communities have nutritionists on staff who recommend seniors avoid processed, packaged foods which tend to be low in nutrients and high in calories, unhealthy fats, sodium and sugar and limit sodium intake to fewer than 2,300 mg every day.

Get or stay active

The human body was made to move, and it thrives on it.  A resident at Country Meadows’ independent living communities provided the exceptionally good advice, “Don’t ever stop moving because you will stop living.”

When you exercise, you’re breathing and heart rate increase to pump oxygen and blood to muscles. Your heart responds by becoming stronger, working more efficiently and opening up blood vessels, reducing blood pressure.

Experts at retirement communities recommend seniors work out at least five times a week for 30 minutes, combining stretching, aerobic and strength-building exercises. Retirement communities such as Country Meadows offer fitness opportunities to residents and community members in on-campus fitness centers.

If a senior needs assistance to get moving, physical therapy is a good way to safely build strength to begin a regular exercise regimen.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or severely underweight can greatly increase risk factors for heart disease. Retirement communities provide nutritious meals to help residents eat a healthy diet promoting heart health.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, increased body weight causes high blood pressure, is linked to high cholesterol and increases risk of diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease. Losing just a few pounds can have a dramatic decrease in risk factors.

Minimize stress

Stress can lead to high blood pressure, which can pose a risk for heart attack and stroke. Stress also may contribute to such cardiovascular disease risks as smoking, overeating and lack of physical activity.

Simply living at retirement communities can help reduce factors that contribute to stress. Residents at the best retirement communities no longer have to worry about household maintenance and chores, meals, housekeeping and social opportunities. They are enjoying a well-deserved carefree lifestyle provided at retirement communities.

Quit smoking

At most retirement communities, smoking is not allowed because it has been proven detrimental to health time and time again. Quit. Enough said.

Get screened

Medicare covers several cardiovascular screenings as well as other preventative tests. If a problem is detected, lifestyle changes at retirement communities such as eating a healthy diet and being active might help to improve health.

Country Meadows has nine locations in Pennsylvania and one campus location in Frederick, Maryland. Often referred to as one of the best retirement communities in the area, we offer a wide range of services to serve a variety of resident needs. The services within our communities include restorative care, rehabilitation, personal care and assisted living, memory support and independent living. If you or a loved one are beginning the retirement planning journey and would like more information on our active adult communities, please contact us today. Our co-workers can provide details on the services we offer, help you to schedule a tour of our independent living communities and answer any other questions you might have.

Country Meadows

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