It’s easier to develop heart complications and strokes during cold weather if you don’t take good care of yourself. Studies even reveal an uptick in cardiac events during the winter holidays! Yet, you needn’t be alarmed as a little proactiveness and timely care can protect your heart health all year round.
Here’s a look at five practical ways to protect your heart health this winter.
Understand Your Heart and Circulatory Health
Certain factors can increase your risk for heart complications, including smoking, kidney disease and family history with heart disease. Understanding your risks and improving lifestyle changes will help you to avoid complications not only this winter, but year-round. Cold temperatures can force your heart to work harder to maintain healthy blood circulation throughout your body. You can reduce your risk of developing complications this winter by managing heart health or any underlying conditions. Start by constructing a self-management plan through exercise and strategies to reduce stress, fatigue, or pain. This will encourage action planning and acting proactively in the event of a heart issue.
Boost Your Immune System with Healthy, Tasty Meals
Eating the right food can provide comfort during winter weather. Better yet, keeping your diet balanced around this time of the year supplies your body with the right nutrients to fight off infections, like the flu and pneumonia. While you may crave heavy, filling meals during these colder months, the best protection for your health will come from immune-boosting foods like fruits and veggies. Ideal warm winter dishes like chicken with chestnut mushroom or roasted tomato and lentil soup can provide sufficient vitamins and minerals to protect your heart and overall physical health.
Exercise Regularly and Keep Your Weight in Check
Winter weather can be immobilizing and morale-sucking, but it’s also an easy time to pack on a few pounds if you aren’t mindful. Too much fat can compromise the ability of your body to fight off infections, increasing your risk of serious complications. While it can be tempting to splurge, especially during the holidays, making smart choices and staying consistent will help you to keep your weight in check. Protect your heart health with simple indoor exercises like yoga, walking, or even standing while working.
Keep Your Stress Levels Down
Managing stress during the winter season is important for your overall health, as too much stress can significantly affect your immune system. Stress has been scientifically linked to affecting heart health, as hormones from stress can compromise immune functioning and elevate your blood pressure. Stress can also lead to seeking out sugary snacks, overeating, or increasing alcohol consumption; all of which can impact your overall mood and happiness. Simple ways to keep your stress levels down are getting outdoors for twenty minutes a day, moderate exercise, getting sufficient sleep, and making time to participate in activities you enjoy.
Get Enough Vitamin D
It’s easy to feel depressed this time of the year due to various factors that affect your mood, such as lack of abundant sunlight and staying indoors more than usual. Vitamin D deprivation due to the lack of adequate sunlight exposure can also be a concern. Since Vitamin D helps protect our bones, muscles, heart and circulatory health, it’s important our bodies receive an adequate amount. Most of us do not get enough Vitamin D on our own, so including a Vitamin D supplement in your daily routine is an easy way to ensure your body is getting what it needs. Including Vitamin D rich foods in your diet such as fish, red meat, and egg yolks, is another natural option to consider.
These lifestyle adjustments are some of the practical ways to protect your heart health during winter. Try them to stay healthy and warm over the colder months.
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