Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death in Australia, with one in four Australians succumbing to cardiovascular conditions each year.
If you’re over 60 and have underlying health conditions, you have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, meaning it’s essential to prioritise your heart health as you age, said leading Australian cardiologist Dr Jason Kaplan.
“There are several factors that can heighten the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight, with those considered overweight or obese at increased risk of developing CVD,” he told The Senior.
“Being overweight can often have a double whammy effect, exacerbating other traditional risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes control, while also directly increasing CVD risk.”
The good news is that studies show 90 per cent of heart disease cases are preventable, simply by making healthier lifestyle choices.
AnglicareSA’s health and wellness team offers a range of programs to help you build up your endurance and boost your heart health if you’re aged over 60. These are our top top five heart-healthy activities.
Going for a walk
Taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day can get your heart rate up, without leaving you needing to catch your breath.
Taking your dog for a stroll, walking to the local shops to pick up some essentials or just organising a walk with a friend can all improve your heart and muscles.
In fact, the Heart Foundation says taking a half-an-hour walk can reduce your chances of heart disease and strokes by 35 per cent.
Find what works for you
If you’d like to try something in a group setting with a health professional, AnglicareSA’s ‘Healthy Hearts’ program focuses on exercises that boost your strength, coordination, and balance – all in a friendly and supportive setting.
In conjunction with the Healthy Hearts program, you might also be interested in enrolling in a Breathe Easy class. This class will help you gradually build up your exercise tolerance, so you’re not feeling breathless every time you climb a flight of stairs.
These classes not only help develop your heart health, but they’ll also improve your lung health, too.
Build up your strength
Gentle weight and resistance training doesn’t just help you keep your muscles toned and bones strong, it can also contribute to improving your heart health.
In fact, recent research shows that weight training reduces your risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
While strength and resistance training usually involves lifting weights, simple day-to-day tasks like carrying the groceries or holding your grandkids can also help keep you fit and strong.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to strength training, AnglicareSA offers strength and fitness classes and individual sessions tailored to your specific needs. This allows you to get the right mix of cardio and weight-based workouts to improve your fitness and boost your heart health.
Give Pilates a try
The floor-based exercise has long been touted to make moving easier and improve aches and pains. However, Pilates can also get your heart pumping and improve overall health.
As a gentle workout, Pilates can reduce your risk of severe heart issues through breathing exercises, relieving stress and anxiety and improving your metabolism.
According to the British Heart Foundation, as Pilates becomes more advanced and you are able to flow more quickly through the exercises, it is possible to introduce a cardiovascular element, too.
AnglicareSA’s Pilates classes focus on strengthening and toning your muscles, getting your breathing easier and boosting your blood flow.
Work out in the water
Regularly participating in aquatic exercise activities, such as hydrotherapy, have been proven to help improve blood flow and heart health in people aged over 60.
Recent studies have shown that immersing yourself in warm water can help regulate your blood pressure and heart rate. Taking a dip can also improve heart function and lower heart rate, a 2009 study found.
Through our health and wellness program, you can take part in regular hydrotherapy sessions, which allow you to let the water soothe your body and improve your heart health.
Call 1800 317 009 to find out more about how we can support your ongoing health and wellness.