Did you know that heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in Canada? According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, more than 1.3 million Canadians are living with heart disease, 350,000 Canadians are hospitalized for heart disease annually, and 66,000 Canadians die from heart disease each year.
We all know that as we begin to age, it’s important to keep our body, bones, and muscles good and strong. And of course, that also means keeping our hardest working muscle - our heart - in tiptop shape. Your heart is working overtime, day and night to get you through life without you ever really stopping to take notice – until of course, you may have no choice. So as you grow older, it’s important to take those few extra steps to keep that muscle thriving so that you can maintain your lifestyle.
Here’s how you can start taking better care of your heart:
Time and time again, we hear about the benefits of exercise and staying active. But it’s not a ploy to just look and feel better about yourself. It is a necessity of life, and one that must be taken seriously. Today, with our sedentary lifestyle, our heart is more prone to heart disease than ever. Each and every day, make it a priority to spend at least 30 solid minutes keeping that heart rate up and active. Go for a stroll in the park. Sign up for swimming lessons. Play hide and seek with the grandkids. Do resistance training while seated in your wheelchair. Every little bit counts!
It’s one thing to jump into that yoga class first thing in the morning, but what about the other 23 hours of the day? The reality is, that’s not enough. If your daily routine entails having your bum stuck in a chair for the majority of the time, make a point to get up, walk around, do some stretches, and try to incorporate any little bit of movement into your day. Even standing activates and requires more than 300 muscles in the body! If you are physically able, get up from that chair as often as you can. If you are in a wheelchair, do stretching routines from your neck to your toes if able. It’s those little, frequent and consistent movements that can make all the difference.
Eat Wholesome and Healthy Food
Eating well isn’t complicated or difficult when done right. It all comes down to preparation. And with the amount of fresh and exotic flavours that are available at every grocery store these days, it’s never been easier to make healthy eating taste great. Try to ditch the carbs and junk food for wholesome grains, veggies, fruits, legumes and unprocessed, unrefined foods. Heart-healthy foods include salmon, blueberries, flaxseeds, kidney beans, tofu, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and yes, even red wine and dark chocolate.
The heart doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it should. But the fact is that for as strong as it is, it’s also as delicate when it comes to unhealthy lifestyles. So give your heart and body the best chance for staying strong by fuelling it with consistent, frequent exercise, and wholesome, healthy foods. That way you can keep it happy and healthy as you move forward in life.
Don’t miss MEDability at the Markham Seniors Health & Wellness Fair on Thursday, November 17 from 10 am – 2 pm. The event takes place at the Thornhill Community Centre & Library at 7755 Bayview Avenue. Discover ways to improve your life, visit practitioners and displays, get a sneak peek at the newest products to improve senior health, and so much more!