February is American Heart Month, and so we want to give you some tips on loving your heart during the winter.
You may know that cold weather can increase your chances of catching the cold or flu, but did you know that the cold can also put a strain on your heart? When it is cold outside, your heart has to work much harder to keep your body warm. Low temperatures can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and even your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
- Stay indoors during storms. Try to stay indoors when it snows or gets too cold. Ask for help with outdoor chores, such as shoveling or buying groceries.
- Check the weather forecast to plan ahead. If you know the weather will be worse later in the week, stock up on groceries so you don’t have to go out during bad conditions.
- Continue to exercise, but not in the cold. Regular exercise is important to a healthy heart, but exercising out in the cold can be dangerous. Do stretches and indoor exercises for about 30 minutes each day to stay healthy. Try these chair exercises that we have on our website.
- Stay warm and dry at all times. When you do go outside, wear plenty of layers. Put on a hat and thermal socks to keep your head and feet warm. Change out of wet clothing right away to prevent your body from losing heat.
- Eat healthy. Regularly consume hot meals and drinks to keep your body warm, but don’t eat more than usual. Portion control can help you keep a healthy diet and a healthy heart.
Visit our website to learn more about loving your heart this month!
Written by Rena Mei
Rena Mei is a health educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Evolutionary Biology and Chemistry from Harvard University.