You Gotta Have Heart!

Leslie and her students pumping some iron and getting stronger at Aegis Living, a fabulous Senior Retirement Community!

by Leslie Sokol

Taking care of your ticker is important – you only have one! The heart is one of the most important muscles in the body, providing the oxygen, energy and nutrients you need to survive. The heart is only the size of a clenched fist but it has an outsized impact on every single living cell you have. It’s the organ central to your life as it pumps blood throughout your body. A strong heart is better able to pump blood throughout your body, delivering more oxygen to your cells and removing waste products more efficiently.

Important ways to keep your heart healthy: eat wholesome, natural foods and drink plenty of fluids (water is always a great choice). Physical activity in virtually any form can also play a role in boosting your heart health. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that regular physical activity provides a wide number of benefits to make the entire cardiovascular system healthier. Even exercising moderately goes a long way! As you age you become more prone to heart issues but taking care of your health can help turn back the clock on your ticker.

Aerobic exercise is a great way to strengthen your heart. By utilizing your cardiovascular system, you get your heart pumping and heart rate elevated. Aerobic exercise refers to a type of repetitive, structured physical activity that requires the body metabolic system to produce energy.

Here are some great aerobic exercises and activities to choose from:

Dancing,Walking,Hiking,Running,Swimming,Biking,Jumping rope, Elliptical, Stationary bike and Treadmill

As you get older, your muscles can’t get you to the same level of exertion. The heart itself doesn’t function the same – like the rest of the body, it gets a bit stiffer. To counter this, it’s a good idea to work at your target heart rate. This improves your cardiovascular strength, burns more calories and releases endorphins, causing you to feel good.

Heart health for seniors can improve with physical activity, healthy eating habits and stress reduction. Keeping a healthy weight and practicing good habits are a must. Additionally, participating in a consistent exercise program, following a heart- healthy diet with foods that are low-sodium, have minimal trans and saturated fats and added sugars will significantly improve heart health over time. Some heart healthy foods to incorporate into a balanced diet are colorful vegetables and fruits and high-quality proteins, including poultry and fish.

No matter your age, you can keep your heart healthy and strong! The key is to prevent risks for heart disease. As you get older, it is important to be aware of your limitations and know what you can and can’t do. Moderate exercise is suggested and staying on a schedule with your workouts will help you experience positive results much faster. You will always benefit by staying active, eating a well-balanced diet, reducing stress and participating in social activities. So, take heart, have fun, be healthy and be happy!

Leslie Sokol is the creator and founder of the adult dance and fitness program For the Young at Heart. She has been teaching adults and children for forty-five years. You can watch For the Young at Heart by visiting her YouTube Channel or on TVSB. She also teaches in retirement communities throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

For more information contact Leslie at [email protected] 805-312-8089 or visit the website:

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