Cardiovascular Health for a Long, Active Life

Cardiovascular Health for a Long, Active Life

When you hear the word “cardiovascular,” you most likely think of your heart. But the cardiovascular system is actually a complex network that comprises the heart, blood vessels, and blood. As a whole, this system plays a pivotal role in keeping you alive and keeping every organ in your body healthy. 

Cardiovascular health, therefore, is one of the single most important aspects of staying healthy and aging well. Good cardiovascular health is not just about preventing heart attacks. It is also about ensuring that every cell in the body receives the oxygen and nutrients it requires to function optimally. 

In today’s article, we will show you some ways to look after your cardiovascular health and give yourself the best chance at living a long and active life. 

Start With Your Diet

Cardiovascular Health - Vegetables

Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining good cardiovascular health at all stages of life. Aum to consume a balanced diet rich in healthy and nourishing foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. 

You should also minimize your intake of trans fats, salt, and refined sugars, all of which can cause health problems if consumed to excess. 

Evidence has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like salmon, can help to reduce your heart disease risk. Omega-3 supplements can help to make sure you are getting enough. 

Take Regular Exercise

Cardiovascular Health - Older man in fitness clothes checking heart rate

Aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling, refers to anything that gets your heart beating faster and makes you breathe harder. Regular aerobic exercise helps to strengthen the heart and enhance the efficiency of your entire cardiovascular system. 

Experts suggest that most adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. That’s 30 minutes per day, five days per week. 

Don’t forget to supplement your aerobic exercise routine with strength training, too. Strength training–which can include free weight training, using weight machines at the gym, or performing bodyweight exercises–has been shown to be beneficial to heart health. It improves circulation, lowers your risk of heart attack or stroke, and fights harmful visceral fat. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Cardiovascular Health - Scale with measuring tape

Being overweight, especially if you carry a lot of your excess weight around your abdominal area, increases your risk of heart disease and many other health complications as you age. 

Work to reach and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes. If you’re not sure what your healthy weight range is, your healthcare provider will be able to advise you. 

Limit Alcohol and Stop Smoking

Cardiovascular Health - Person pouring a glass of red wine

Consuming too much alcohol is known to cause serious damage to the liver. But did you know that it can also have a huge impact on your cardiovascular system? Too much alcohol has been associated with high blood pressure, heart failure, and even stroke. 

Follow the CDC alcohol guidelines of no more than two drinks per day if you’re a man and one if you’re a woman. Do not binge-drink, and have at least a few alcohol-free days each week. 

If you do not smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will have tremendous benefits for your health. Smoking tobacco is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Get Regular Health Screenings

Cardiovascular Health - Doctor checking charts

As we age, we can start to suffer from health complications that may not be immediately apparent but can cause major problems if left untreated. Therefore, get regular health screenings from your healthcare provider and make the most of any check-ups you are offered. 

Regular check-ups can detect risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or pre-diabetes early. This early detection allows for more effective management and can prevent long-term complications.

Practice Good Stress Management

Cardiovascular Health - Older woman meditating to manage stress

Chronic stress causes high levels of a hormone called cortisol to be present in the body, and evidence has shown that this may contribute towards increased cholesterol, high blood sugar, and blood pressure problems. All of these are risk factors for heart disease.

In addition, poorly managed stress may lead to unhealthy habits such as binge eating, indulging in too much junk food, excessive alcohol consumption, or smoking. If you are stressed, it is essential that you find healthy ways to manage it. Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can all help. It’s also important to talk about what’s bothering you. Ask your friends and family for support, and consider speaking to a licensed therapist. 

Get Plenty of Sleep 

Cardiovascular Health - Older man sleeping in a bed

Sleep is when our body repairs and regenerates itself, and enough sleep is vital for good health at all stages of life. Most adults should aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night to keep their cardiovascular systems–and overall health–in good working order.