Older hands over heart

Gretchen Heuring

We Know More About Old Hearts

By | 02.06.2011


Only a few years ago, the medical community believed that the aging heart became smaller and less able after age 65. This was thought to be a natural part of the aging process. Now we know this is not true for a healthy heart.


Researchers have learned that regular exercise and a healthy diet can keep the heart strong for many more years than we ever believed possible.


Certainly the heart ages along with the rest of our bodies but it is capable of adapting itself to age-related changes if we take care.


Here's the test. If you can move and carry your body well, you have little excess fat, your muscles work smoothly and your balance is good, then your heart is most likely healthy and strong. If you don't pass this test, you know what to do.


People with healthy bodies still can get heart disease, though. Researchers are only beginning to understand why. Chances are higher if there is a history of heart disease in the family.


Symptoms of Heart Disease

Some people have heart disease with no symptoms, but chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue are the most common. It's possible to have just one or two of these major symptoms, or none at all. So as we age, regular checkup are important for continued healthy living.


Heart disease can sneak up on us. Two of the biggest precursors are hypertension and arteriosclerosis. Both of these can be prevented and overcome by a healthy diet and plenty of huff and puff exercise.



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Woman Watching TV

Gretchen Heuring

Your Lifestyle Choices

By | 07.26.2014


For years now, I've been hearing about my lifestyle choices and how I need to "Be Healthy." Every food package has the number of calories printed on it somewhere but mostly, I have been ignoring that information. I'm sure all the things I really like have more calories than I should be taking in. Every now and then I get serious about dieting for awhile and lose a few pounds. Then I buy new clothes which I can never wear more than once because I gain those pounds back. In my lifetime I think I've lost a thousand pounds.


When I'm dieting, I crave food...and wine...and a good beer. A tub of extra spicy chicken wings and a beer sounds wonderful. But really, as the years have rolled past me, I have gained a little weight here and there. I might be obese or "almost obese." By cutest shoes have a buckle and I have to unzip my pants to bend over and put on those shoes. At my last checkup, my doctor scolded me and prescribed blood pressure medicine.


In a magazine, I read about "going for long walks in the velvety night." Might be a magical experience. Might be fun, might not be so safe, a movie on TV is better. Have some wings and watch TV. That's much better.


Every public recreation center and senior center in the US has free or almost free exercise programs. By almost free, I'm talking about $25 or maybe $35 A YEAR for older folks. Depending on the location, that small fee could include fitness machines, tennis courts, and swimming pools. A class where we all move our bodies around together is usually about $5 each time. There are 11,000 locations for Silver Sneakers. This is an exercise program paid for by our health insurance.


But, I tell myself, how can I exercise? My knees hurt and maybe my hips too. I hobble from the car to the grocery store. It's hard to even get my wings and beer. Thank goodness I can use a drive-through to pick up my blood pressure meds.


I could break my back in an exercise program! In my heart I know that isn't true. I can't even stand on one foot to put my stretch pants on. My muscles are in sad shape and the stiffness I feel could very wll be from underused and tight liganments and tendons. I could break my back falling over.


So am I just going to sit here on the couch until I die? I have to change this. My life is not getting longer. I think I'm a little depressed. Maybe I'll try one wing and a salad.