Healthy Aging: Keeping Your Heart Healthy | Imperial Club

Healthy Aging: Keeping Your Heart Healthy

Gone is the belief that growing older means inevitable and irreversible physical decline. Thanks to aging research, conducted in the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew Senior Life, we now know that not only is physical activity possible at any age, but it is beneficial from staying heart healthy, to helping prevent falls, to slowing down the onslaught of dementia. With winter approaching, the tendency to hunker down in doors becomes very tempting. Don’t let this happen. Winter is no excuse to assume a sedentary lifestyle. However, safety is certainly a concern, and understanding physical changes that come with age is important.
How does heart rate change with age and what should seniors know in order to maintain a safe exercise routine? The good news is that a person’s resting heart rate does not change significantly with age. However, age does take a toll on how a person’s heart rate responds when challenged by physical exertion. Research shows that as we grow older the ability of one’s heart increases its rate during exercise to diminish.
The good news is, like with other muscles, we can build the heart muscle with training. A more powerful heart can pump more blood with each stroke, which helps older adults compensate for a slower response rate. So now that you are convinced to stay active even as the days grow colder and shorter, also take steps to stay safe. It’s a good idea to learn what a safe heart rate is for you.
Although a moderate walking regiment may not need a doctor’s blessing, you should always consult your primary care physician before beginning anything more ambitious. But the research is conclusive that we can build strength at any age. And we can all agree that a “bigger heart” is something we all would want to cultivate in more ways than one!

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