Want to stay young at heart?
Heart specialists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center say the concept isn’t just a romantic notion. In fact, several things – from getting exercise, to eating a healthy diet to reducing stress – are keys to keeping your heart functioning like a healthy youngster’s, no matter what your age.
• Physical activity. Although experts recommend 20-30 minutes of exercise a day, that doesn’t mean immediately going from zero to 30 minutes. It’s best to start at a level of exercise that’s comfortable and gradually working up to the 30-minute mark. If you miss a day, no problem. Just try to avoid going three days in a row without exercise.
• Healthy diets. Eating a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables and whole-grain items can reduce your risk of heart disease. So can minimizing the intake of salt and alcohol which lowers blood pressure.
• Manage stress. Keeping stress levels low keeps your heart healthy. It’s also a good idea to have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked on a regular basis. Knowing your family history is vital, as well. If any immediate relatives have a history of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or stroke, inform your doctor.