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How to Keep Your Heart Healthy This Winter

The winter can be beautiful, minus the cold, the extra effort to stay warm and the increased risk for heart attacks—a surprising finding that is not solely connected to the cold temperatures or the extra effort needed to battle the elements.

Now is the time to protect your heart health:

There are a variety of reasons researchers have found the winter months to increase the risk of heart attacks for those across the country from various climatic settings. Here are a few tips to keep you and your heart in tip-top shape for the coming year and for the many years to follow:

1-      Fight the Cold Winter Blues: Depression is a condition, sometimes of clinical diagnosis, that can be overlooked although the added stress and feeling of inadequacy can have a direct effect on your health. The shorter days and lack of sunlight are said to play a key role in developing the mid-winter blues. The best way to avoid depression is to take part in a fun winter activity—allowing you to be a part of a larger community.

2-      It’s Flu Season, Get Vaccinated! In the United States, flu season is at its peak in January and February though it typically begins in early fall. It is important to receive a flu vaccination to avoid obtaining and spreading the flu to others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is strongly suggested that everyone over the age of 6 months old get vaccinated, especially those who fall under the following categories:

  • Those who have had certain medical conditions
  • Women who are pregnant
  • People over the age of 65
  • People who live with or care for those who are at a high risk

3-      Remember to Stay Hydrated: Staying hydrated means more than adding an extra cup of tea, hot chocolate or coffee to your everyday diet to stay warm in the winter. Add water to the mix and make sure to drink the required amount each day. This may vary depending on the amount of physical activity which may vary per each individual’s needs.

4-      Avoid Strenuous Activities: Studies suggest that the unusual physical exertion of shoveling snow, especially in the early morning hours, can spike blood pressure and put an unnecessary strain on the heart. Although it may be hard to avoid shoveling altogether, taking it slow could have a better impact on your health.

5-      Avoid Excess Weight Gain: It can be hard to find the motivation to get outside and take part in activities when it gets dark before you leave the office. Staying active during the winter months can be done by putting in the extra effort by means of transportation. Walk to work if you can and take the stairs. The extra effort will increase your stamina. If you do decide to stay inside, household chores will keep the body active!

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