As the winter season approaches, we should take precautions to protect ourselves against heart disease. According to medical research, the number of deaths and hospitalizations from heart disease and stroke can rise by over 50% during winter, peaking on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
There are a number of reasons why our hearts are under extra stress during winter, and they include:
- Shorter days
- Disrupted routines
- Overindulgence during the holidays
- Holiday-related stress
- Physical overexertion due to snow shoveling or New Year’s Day resolution to start exercise program.
Here are some things that you can do to stay heart healthy during winter:
Learn about your physical condition
Make an appointment with your physician before the start of the winter season. Fall is a good time to get a physical examination to assess your risk of heart disease. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, seek appropriate treatment as soon as you can.
Be careful when shoveling snow
Even if you are fit enough to shovel snow, you should do it slowly and take care not to overexert yourself. Take a break after 15 minutes and go inside to let your body recover. Check your pulse and wait until it has returned to normal before you start shoveling again. Then, take breaks every 15-30 minutes until you finish the job.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
These substances can put more stress on your heart, and you should try to avoid consuming them during winter. It is especially important that you do not drink alcohol before or during outdoor activities because it can take away essential heat from your heart and other organs.
In our next post, we will provide more tips on how to keep your heart healthy during winter.