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Taking care of yourself and living healthy doesn’t have to be a huge, intimidating process. It’s best to concentrate on the simple things and aim for making small changes that will take you closer to a healthier lifestyle. February is National Heart Month, the perfect time to start making these changes, and East Ridge at Cutler Bay is behind you all the way.

“When it comes to taking care of your own health, we heartily applaud you,” says Desiree Sebastian, Director of Health Services. “The lifestyle found at East Ridge, a life plan community, has been found to contribute to residents’ wellbeing. We’re ready to get in the spirit of National Heart Month and help our residents take a good, close look at their dietary and exercise habits to see where if they can make a few adjustments or just offer words of encouragement.”

Here are a few tips we’ve found works for older adults:

• A positive outlook can be your best asset. Visualize yourself at the state of health you wish to attain and surround yourself with fellow positive-thinkers. Smiles are contagious.

• Get plenty of sleep. Different people have varying sleep requirements, but most of us need 7-9 hours per night to remain healthy. Your body actually repairs and rejuvenates itself during sleep.

• Keeping busy is always a good choice for keeping heart-healthy. Many volunteer positions at East Ridge help residents remain active and productive. Being with other people can be a tonic for your own mental and physical health.

• Be sure to make time for yourself. Channel your inner Michelangelo by dabbling in some kind of artistic pursuit. You don’t need to be a virtuoso to have fun singing or trying to play a musical instrument. Residents at East Ridge can take advantage of the wide variety of fitness classes offered in the state-of-the-art fitness center located at the heart of the community or activities in the Lifestyle Center.

• Find time to take a leisurely walk. At East Ridge, the community’s 76 acres of green space features meandering walkways and natural paths to encourage residents to take a scenic walk each day of the week.

• The number one suggestion for heart health and general wellbeing is to eliminate smoking from your life. If you’re a smoker, that’s the biggest favor you can do for yourself.

• The food you eat plays an important role in your energy level and overall wellbeing. The culinary department at East Ridge strives to offer diets that are heart-healthy, using monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

• A heart-healthy diet should include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables; spinach, carrots, peaches and berries are especially good for you. Whole-grain foods offer lots of fiber and nutrients, such as oats, whole wheat bread and brown rice. Fish, especially those with high oil content, contain omega-3 fatty acids — great for heart health. These include tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines.

• Watch your weight — balance the calories you take in with the activities you engage in on a daily basis. You’ll lose weight when you burn more calories than you eat; the math is simple.

• As we age, we don’t need to consume as many calories. Eat and drink in moderation to stay heart-healthy for life.

Give us a call at East Ridge at Cutler Bay and take advantage of our monthly open houses, sample the cuisine and enjoy a tour of our community.

About East Ridge
East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true life care retirement community. The not-for-profit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 S.W. 87th Avenue. The community offers a continuum of care including independent and assisted living apartment homes in a neighborhood setting, respite and skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation services available within Three Palms Health Center. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (305) 256-3564 visit