Age 50 is a big milestone. You have a lot of life experience and memories, but you still have a lot of life left to live. And you want to make sure that the muscle in your chest – your heart – that has propelled you through 50 years is fit enough to last the rest of your life.
Hopefully, you’ve cared for your heart before you turn 50, but even if you didn’t, it’s not too late to start. Here are 5 tips you can follow for optimal heart health once you hit the half-century milestone.
Get Checked Out
You’ll need to visit a doctor for a checkup at least once a year, but if something comes up with your heart or chest – even if you think it’s minor – go see your doctor if at all possible. You want to detect any potential problem as soon as you can.
Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it needs to be exercised if you want it to grow stronger.
Make sure you’re exercising regularly. You should do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise), according to the American Heart Association.
Moderate exercise can include anything from walking, jogging/running, swimming, climbing stairs, and cardio. Vigorous exercise can include weightlifting, CrossFit, playing sports, or any other exercise that is done at a high level of effort.
Get active and stay active, and you’ll boost your heart’s health.
Drink Plenty of Water
Did you know that not drinking enough fluid can actually hurt your heart?
It’s true. The more dehydrated you are, the more strain you’re putting on your heart, because your blood volume goes down with dehydration. That means your heart has to beat faster to pump the same amount of blood throughout your body.
Drink plenty of water. If you’re feeling tired, sluggish, disoriented, hot, or dizzy, you’re probably not drinking enough.
If you’re a smoker, turning 50 is the perfect time to stop. (Any time is the perfect time to stop!)
Smoking is one of the most destructive things you can do to your heart. It dramatically increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, and can lead to angina and heart attacks.
You have plenty of life to live. Don’t shorten it by smoking. Here’s advice on how to stop smoking from the American Lung Association.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
You are what you eat, and what you eat can impact your heart health for better or for worse.
Heart-healthy diets at age 50 include foods high in fiber and low in carbs, like non-starchy vegetables. They include less fat, salt, and sugar. They’re rich in nutrients and vitamins that help your body as a whole, not just your heart.
Foods that are good for your heart include:
- Fish with omega-3 fatty acids
- Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
- Whole-grain foods
- Lean meats
- Polyunsaturated fats and oils (like olive oil, canola oil, avocados, etc.)
A balanced, well-regulated diet will help reduce the chance of high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, which is when plaque builds up inside your arteries.
Keep Your Heart Healthy and Strong!
It’s not as hard as some think to keep your heart health after 50. In fact, with the right mindset, it can be easy and natural.
Focus on the above tips and listen to your doctor, and you’ll have a healthier heart and a better lifestyle.