Cardiovascular Health After 50: Essential Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Heart


As we age, keeping our hearts healthy becomes increasingly important. According to studies, heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women over 50. The good news is there are many lifestyle changes you can make to improve your heart health during this stage of life. Here are essential tips for maintaining a strong heart after turning 50.

Understand Your Risk Factors

The first step is understanding potential risk factors you may have for heart disease. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes, poor diet, physical inactivity, stress, and family history. Having more risk factors or uncontrolled risk factors increases your chances of developing cardiovascular problems later on.
Get tested regularly by your healthcare provider to check key biomarkers like cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar. It allows for early intervention if any issues pop up. Learn about your family history, as genetics can play a role. Identifying and managing risk factors in your 50s and 60s means you lower your likelihood of heart attack, stroke, or developing atherosclerosis down the road.

Incorporate Both Cardio and Strength Training

Exercise is vital for heart health at any age. It helps control weight, lowers LDL cholesterol, improves HDL cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, and decreases stress. According to cardiovascular health insights, all these factors protect against heart disease.

Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity like brisk walking. It equates to just 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week. Those who sit for long periods should also take movement breaks every 30 minutes. Go for a quick walk around the office or do some strength exercises right from your desk chair.

As you progress through your 50s, maintain both cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Walking, swimming, cycling, cardio workouts, or bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups are ideal. Building muscle mass boosts your metabolism, which supports a healthier body composition, blood sugar regulation, and heart health biomarkers.

Focus on a Nutrient-Dense Diet

Consuming a nutritious, heart-healthy diet reduces risks associated with high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins like poultry, fish, and plant-based proteins. These provide antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats, and nutrients that fight inflammation and protect arteries.

Limit processed foods, salty snacks, sugary desserts, and fried foods that directly contribute to weight gain, elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, and cardiovascular issues. Be mindful of refined grains and added sugars, too. Additionally, keep sodium intake in check to maintain normal blood pressure levels. Proper hydration with water supports this as well. A daily omega-3 fish oil supplement adds better cardiovascular protection.

Manage Emotional Health

Chronic stress takes a major toll on the heart over time, increasing the likelihood of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, chest pain, irregular heart rhythms, and even heart attacks. When we feel prolonged strain or anxiety, stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline increase while protective hormones decrease. It causes inflammation, high blood pressure, and elevated heart rate – all hard on your cardiovascular system.

Practice good work-life balance, carve out me-time, connect regularly with loved ones, and do calming activities before bed like journaling, meditation, or restorative yoga poses. Laughter provides a burst of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels! Aim to keep stress hormone levels lower through positive outlets so your heart stays healthier long-term.

The steps you take now to support your cardiovascular system make a big impact down the road after 50. Approach heart health holistically through nutrition, physical activity, stress relief, and risk factor management. It helps maintain an active, vibrant later life. Your future self will thank you!

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Julie Gallaher

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