February is “Heart Month” the month of paying a little extra attention to your cardiovascular health and raising awareness so others can also prioritize their heart health. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, heart disease and strokes claim the lives of more men and women in Canada than any other cause, and statistics show that over 1.3 million Canadians are living with heart disease. Regardless of if you are living at home or at a Medicine Hat retirement community, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of developing this dangerous condition. 

Here are 5 ways seniors can improve their heart health at a Medicine Hat retirement community

1. Exercise regularly

One of the easiest ways of helping your heart pump more efficiently is through regular exercise. This doesn’t have to be anything too crazy or complicated, especially if you are no longer used to living an active lifestyle like you once used to years ago, but can be something as simple as going for a walk everyday and moving your arms and legs around to ensure that all your muscles and joints are warmed up. You can also use the help of on-site amenities and even participate in the many recreational activities at your Medicine Hat retirement community that are done in groups to keep you motivated and active. 

2. Eat a heart-healthy diet

As you age, you will realize that your body needs more crucial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy. A healthy diet usually consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat milk products. Since cholesterol and saturated fats contribute to coronary artery disease (which is a major cause of heart failure), cut down on your sodium by reducing your salt through low sodium or no-salt added products such as soup, canned vegetables, snack foods and lunch meats. The Medicine Hat retirement community does a great job of providing healthy and nutritious meals daily that taste delicious, so you don’t have to worry about eating unhealthy foods. 

3. Quit smoking & limit alcohol use

Smoking tends to raise your risk of heart disease and heart attacks by damaging the artery walls and blood vessels over time. It’s understandable that quitting smoking is not easy, especially if it’s been done for a long time, but there is support available if you are ready to change your life and lower your risk of heart disease, strokes, and cancer. Limiting your alcohol use is also recommended if you don’t want serious health conditions in your future. Alcoholic beverages can weaken your heart and could also interact negatively with the medication you take, so it’s important to discuss safe levels of alcohol intake with your doctor. 

4. Maintain a healthy weight

Depending on the way your body naturally stores fats, it might be a good idea to visit your doctor to determine what a healthy body weight is for your body type. The more body fat you have, the more likely you are to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing issues, and certain types of cancer. Losing weight and keeping it maintained at the level that is recommended for you will lower many health concerns and improve your overall health. Staying physically active at the Medicine Hat retirement community is a great way to maintain your body weight and prevent you from being overweight. 

5. Visit your physician regularly

Since early signs of heart disease could be hard to notice, it’s important to maintain regular check-ups with your primary care physician. Some common symptoms you should take note of is pain, numbing or tingling sensations, shortness or breath or trouble breathing, chest pain during physical activity, swelling of ankles, feet, legs, stomach and/or neck, lightheartedness, dizziness, or confusion, headaches, and other signs that don’t seem normal to you. If you have any other underlying health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, are overweight and smoke, talk to your doctor about risks associated with the conditions and how you can prevent developing any heart-related diseases. 

If you’re looking to find the right seniors community in Medicine Hat, for you or a loved one, book a tour at The Wellington Retirement Residence today! Contact amacarthur@ppsl.com or call 403-526-5762 today to learn more. We look forward to getting to know you!