Heart failure is a common occurrence among the elderly, but preventive measures can work towards improving the heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular events. The main prevention approach for heart failure is through exercise and physical activity.
The benefits of exercise are well-documented and quite extensive. Exercise, particularly aerobic activity such as dancing, can work to improve the heart in a number of ways such as strengthening the heart and cardiovascular system, reducing heart disease risk factors such as obesity, improving circulation in the body, addressing heart failure symptoms, helping increase energy levels, improving muscle and tone strength, increasing balance and joint flexibility, strengthening bones, helping reduce body fat and maintain a healthy weight, boosting self-esteem, improving sleep, promoting relaxation and reducing stress, helping improve your appearance, and making one feel healthy.
As you can see, exercise is highly beneficial for overall health and specifically for cardiovascular health. Although the list of benefits may entice you to get moving, it’s always important to get clearance from your doctor first. You may ask your doctor how often you should exercise, what kind of exercises is right for you, and whether your medication will affect your practice. Once your doctor has given you clearance and guidance, you may want to start slowly with a trainer or a physical therapist to work your way up.
A trainer can teach you how to perform exercises correctly and help you create an easy-to-follow plan for you to exercise on your own.
Here are some basic guidelines when it comes to cardiac rehab:
- Begin slowly, increasing your walking pace gradually. If you feel out of breath, then slow down.
- Remember to cool down at the end of exercising by walking slower.
- If walking outside, walk with someone.
- Talk to your doctor before lifting weights.
- If you notice any symptoms, such as shortness of breath, pain, or palpitations, stop exercising and contact your doctor right away.
Home remedies to prevent heart failure
In order to better prevent heart failure, there are simple lifestyle changes to keep in mind. It makes sense to find ways to manage your stress, since it can increase your blood pressure. Deep breathing, meditation, and even yoga are options. Another suggestion is to get sufficient sleep. Our bodies repair themselves while we are sleeping. When people follow a set bedtime routine and eliminate distractions like TV, laptops, and cellphones, they have a better chance of getting a good sleep.
Dieticians insist that preventing heart failure isn’t just about avoiding certain foods or incorporating nutritious foods into the diet, it is also about managing portions. Figure out how much you are consuming and how much you really need to eat. Also ensure that your meals are balanced. Avoid sugar, salt, processed foods, and saturated fat.
Tobacco use is a major risk factor for heart disease, so if you are a smoker, ask your doctor to help you with a plan to quit. You should also try to avoid second-hand smoke. Talking to your doctor about controlling your blood pressure or your cholesterol if either are issues is equally important. Sometimes, a minor lifestyle adjustment can address a blood pressure or cholesterol concern. There is also a possibility that the doctor will prescribe a medication to help control the problem.
Working with your doctor and uncovering your risk factors for heart failure can help you develop a plan to reduce your risk.