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Senior Health: Best Activities for a Strong Heart

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

Today’s seniors are more active than ever. Seniors are traveling in huge numbers, living longer, and staying healthier than previous generations. The American Heart Association recommends seniors get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. If you’re looking for better ways for your elderly relative to support heart health, here are a handful of activities from Sonoma senior care experts he or she can do each week.

Yoga
Yoga does not count toward the AHA’s recommended level of weekly physical activity, but it does help improve flexibility, lung capacity, and circulation. Yoga also helps reduce blood pressure and supports healthy respiratory function. Yoga has been proven to help prevent heart disease and offers benefits to seniors who have already experienced a heart attack, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular problems.

Gardening
Tending to a garden isn’t just an enjoyable pastime, it also has health benefits. Studies have found that gardening can reduce stress, improve symptoms of depression, and provide an enjoyable form of low-impact exercise. A study of 4,000 seniors even found that gardening can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 30 percent and prolong life.

Walking
Walking is one of the easiest ways seniors can improve their heart health. There are many ways to increase the amount of time your loved one spends walking, whether he or she walks a few blocks to the store instead of driving or takes morning walks with a friend. Walking for at least 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Swimming
Lap swimming or a water fitness class is low-impact and one of the most heart-healthy forms of exercise. In the water, people feel only 10 percent of their total body weight, which takes the stress off of aching joints while improving muscle strength, lowering blood pressure, and improving circulation.

Meditation
Meditation is a practice that may involve deep breathing or just quiet contemplation. Along with reducing stress, meditation has been found to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. There are many forms of meditation, including transcendental meditation, mindful meditation, and even prayer. When your loved one finds a form of meditation that works for him or her, he or she should aim for at least 10 minutes of meditation every day to support a healthy mind and body.

Learn more about promoting senior health and wellness from Home Care Assistance. As a leading provider of hourly and live-in care, as well as specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s home care in Sonoma, changing how our senior population ages is our number one priority. Through our holistic Balanced Care Method, we promote regular physical activity and a healthy diet, help seniors maintain a sense of calm and purpose, and offer emotional support and companionship. For more information, call (707) 843.4368 and speak with a friendly Care Manager today.