The heart is one of the hardest-working muscles in the body, but we don’t often think about it in that way. Even small changes in a person’s daily routine can dramatically improve cardiovascular health and decrease the risk of heart disease. Seniors are especially susceptible to heart disease. A new study conducted by researchers at Tufts University found that seniors aged 55 and older can reduce their risk of heart failure 50 percent by implementing changes centered around increased activity and a balanced diet.

Liana Del Gobbo, the author of the study and a doctoral student at Tufts, explains, “Older adults can make simple changes to reduce their heart failure risk, such as not smoking, engaging in moderate physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight.”

Below are some simple and easy tips to help take care of your heart health.

1) Find an activity that makes you excited
Most people associate exercise with the gym, but running on a treadmill isn’t the only way to get a healthier heart. According to the American Heart Association, any type of moderate exercise can help improve blood circulation, which is good for your heart. Walking a dog, gardening, even going shopping at the mall can be used as a form of low-intensity exercise when done 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. Not only will these types of activities reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, but they can also help to prevent bone loss, increase energy and make it easier to get a more restful night’s sleep.

2) Keep track of your blood pressure
This may seem like an obvious tip, but a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that people who track their blood pressure with telemonitors were more likely to be successful at keeping their blood pressure at a healthy level than those who do not. There are a variety of different ways to track blood pressure, heart rate and other health factors these days – ranging from cell phone apps, body-worn “fit” bands and blood pressure monitors in local pharmacies. Talk with your doctor about what you should be looking for and what a healthy range is for your lifestyle.

3) Be mindful about groceries 
​One of the best ways for seniors to improve their heart health is by sticking to a more nutritious diet. Research by the Mayo Clinic has found that foods that are high in vitamins and low in calories make it easier to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of high cholesterol. By creating – and sticking to – a detailed shopping list and going to the grocery store at the same time every week, seniors can help reduce temptation and create well-rounded and nutritious meals that will benefit their heart health.

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