The more risk factors you can keep under control, the less likely you are to have a future heart attack. But as you get older, your blood pressure, cholesterol and other heart-related numbers tend to rise.
No matter what your age, you can take matters into your own hands to help reduce your risk of heart disease. It’s never too late to live heart-healthy, which is why Go Red For Women wants you to consider your heart health at every age. Learn what you can do to prevent heart disease in your 60s and beyond with the following advice.
Know your risk.
Studies show that the number of women who have heart attacks increases dramatically, especially after menopause. But the good news is that you have the power to reduce your risk, and if you do have a heart condition, there is plenty you can do to manage it. A great place to start is by taking the Go Red Heart CheckUp. It only takes a few minutes and along with your results, you’ll receive a Personal Action Plan. Think of it as a customized guide to help you achieve your fitness and nutrition goals, and live heart smart.
Know your numbers.
Knowing the numbers that impact your heart is an important step toward healthy living. Here’s a quick overview of the numbers you need to know and your goals. Be sure to talk to your doctor to see how your current numbers measure up.
- Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL
- HDL (good) cholesterol 50 mg/dL or higher
- LDL (bad) cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL
- Triglycerides 150 mg/dL
- Blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg
- Body Mass Index less than 25 kg/m2
- Waist circumference less than 35 in.
The older we get, the trickier exercise can be. But it’s still very important to make physical activity a top priority in your life. If exercise is new to you, start slow and talk to your doctor for suggestions on the types of exercise or workouts that you can explore. If working out has never been your thing, that’s okay; walking, even short brisk walks for as little as 10 minutes throughout the day, can provide enough physical activity to keep your heart in shape. Your goal should be to get 40 minutes of exercise three to four times per week.
Light weight lifting, water aerobics and yoga are all great exercises for senior women. Or try these cardio and strength training tips for seniors.
Eat heart-healthy meals.
Whenever you eat or are cooking for yourself or your family, have meals that help maintain your heart health. They can still be delicious! Focus on including foods that are nutrient-dense like colorful veggies and fruits, fiber-rich, whole-grains, lean meats, skinless chicken and fish rich in omega-3s, and fat-free, 1 percent fat and low-fat dairy. These foods can give your heart the nutrients it needs as well as improve your cholesterol and blood pressure. Try one of Go Red For Women’s heart-healthy recipes and get more expert tips to eat healthy.