heart healthSeniors are encouraged to think of heart health during American Heart Month

February is a time of year that many people see hearts as a symbol of love, but it’s also a time to remember your heart’s health. February has been designated as American Heart Month in an effort to raise awareness and prevention of heart disease. Take the time this month and every month to do something good for your heart.

Did you know?
A study done by the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) in 2010 discovered that “more than 30% of adults aged 65 or older report no leisure-time physical activity”. Older adults need regular exercise too in order to keep their hearts healthy.

What are the benefits for staying active?

  • It can reduce the risk of fractures by preventing bone loss.
  • It can reduce the risk of falling by increasing muscle strength and improving balance and coordination.
  • Studies show there is a decreased incidence of coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, depression and anxiety, when there is an increased level of activity (AHA, 2015).

Here are a few exercise tips:

  • Work with your healthcare provider to develop a plan that takes into consideration any chronic conditions or activity limitations you have.
  • Start exercising at a low intensity and increase very gradually.
  • Take time to warm up and cool down because muscular adaptation and elasticity slows with age.
  • Pick activities that are fun.
  • Find a companion to exercise with you.
  • Be sure to stay well hydrated. Attempt to drink water every 15 minutes while exercising.       Your internal sense of thirst decreases as you age so it is important to remember to drink water. (AHA, 2015).

As Joyce Perkins, Geriatric Nurse Navigator at Retreat Doctors’ Hospital says, “We want older adults to stay healthy and out of the hospital and one of the best ways to do that is to remain active.“

Retreat Doctors’ Hospital is a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care of Healthsystem Elders) designated hospital.


CDC (2014). February is American Heart Month. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

AHA (2015). Physical Activity in Older Americans. Retrieved from:                   http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Physical-Activity-in-Older- Americans_UCM_308039_Article.jsp