With heart diseases being the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., it’s important to share and educate people of all ages on how to protect their heart. The American Heart Association targets February as Heart Health Month to raise awareness about heart disease, risk factors and healthy habits to avoid heart disease. Seniors are especially important to keep informed because it is never too late to make an impact on heart health.
When seniors retire, they often become less active and less willing to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps, many feel like it doesn’t matter at this stage of life. However, exercise and new healthy habits benefits people of all ages, and those with heart conditions are no exception. Studies show that cardiac rehabilitation programs can make a noticeable improvement to circulation, strength and balance, blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as many other benefits to the mind and body.
Brandon Welever, is a fitness coach for Kingston Residence of Sylvania who specializes in cardiovascular exercise for the residents in their senior living community. He meets with each resident individually in the comfort of their own apartment. He establishes fitness programs that are personalized to each person’s need, meets with them weekly and brings the required equipment to their apartment. “Strength building exercise is particularly important to seniors not only to build endurance to avoid falls but to build and maintain the heart, which is the most important muscle in the body”, states Brandon. Brandon has seen significant changes to many of his residents after starting them on an exercise routine. “I get a lot of new residents who try to avoid the program but once we get going, it’s surprising how quickly they can see a difference. Not only are my clients feeling better and stronger but they seem more optimistic and happy.”
Brandon works with the dietary and activities department to incorporate other heart healthy habits such as eating the right foods and planning engaging activities that keep the residents moving and involved in the community.
Not every senior as access to a personal fitness coach, but there are many resources online that can provide great direction for exercising after the age of 50. All seniors should consult their physician to review their exercise and life-style plans to be sure it is the best fit for their current health needs. Taking action on impacting heart health can mean better overall well-being, fewer medications and significantly lowering the risk of disability in the future.