The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 65 million adults in the United States have hypertension, which remains the leading cause of death in the country. There are many factors that raise the risk of developing this cardiovascular disorder. However, certain lifestyle changes play a major role in preventing high blood pressure. Here are six activities that can help aging adults reduce their risk of hypertension.
1. Adopting a Pet
According to the director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond located at Purdue University, having and caring for a pet encourages relaxation. Interacting with animals is a natural means of reducing stress. Petting or cuddling with a cat or dog inhibits cortisol, the stress hormone that contributes to hypertension.
Caring for a pet can be difficult due to various health issues. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. El Dorado County families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
A study published in Psychology and Aging explains how researchers followed more than 1,000 adults aged 51 to 91. The participants were first evaluated in 2006 and all exhibited normal blood pressure readings. Four years later, the subjects were once again evaluated. The scientists learned that the adults who volunteered a minimum of 200 hours of their time were 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure.
A study conducted by researchers from the Institute of Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management found that meditating twice a day reduced the risk of hypertension. Meditating requires seniors to sit quietly with their eyes closed for 20 minutes. The research divided participants into two groups. One group was taught to meditate and attended a basic health education class. The other group adopted lifestyle changes that included losing weight, limiting salt intake, reducing alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly. At the end of the study, both groups were successful in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Meditating and lifestyle changes ensure that telomeres on the end of chromosomes remain healthy, which is necessary to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Several studies indicate that seniors who regularly have social relationships are less likely to have health conditions such as cardiovascular disease. When placed in a social setting, adults naturally tend to take care of others. In turn, they are more likely to better care for themselves.
For families living in El Dorado County, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
Walking strengthens lower body muscle groups while enhancing balance and cardiovascular performance. Seniors should start walking at their own pace for up to 30 minutes 5 times each week. Once the body becomes accustomed to the activity, older adults should increase the pace to a brisk walk. Other options include parking further away from building entrances and taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
6. Engaging in Moderately Intense Exercise
Moderate exercise requires engaging in activity that increases the heart rate. Cycling, dancing, hiking, and swimming all qualify as being moderately intense activities. The key to gaining health benefits from exercise involves consistency.
In El Dorado County, elderly care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To create a customized home care plan, call us at (916) 358-3801 or (530) 409-4411 today.