Your Heart in Winter: Tips to Manage Heart Health in the Cold

Wintertime ushers several celebrations dedicated to the heart—including Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month. However, the winter season is also a time that can be difficult for heart health. At Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates, we’re committed to keeping our patients well every season of the year. Here’s what you need to know about how to manage heart health in the cold.

Tip #1: Pace Yourself When Shoveling Snow

When the first big snow hits, it’s tempting to go outside to shovel the entire driveway in one fell swoop. However, shoveling snow can be particularly hard on your heart. The American Heart Association recommends taking frequent breaks while shoveling and pushing snow instead of lifting heavy loads.

Tip #2: Wear Adequate Winter Clothing

Aside from increased exertion, one of the reasons that outdoor activities like snow shoveling can be hard on your heart is because of the cold temperatures themselves. When your body is cold, your blood vessels constrict to preserve blood flow to your heart. This survival mechanism can drive up your blood pressure and actually put more strain on your heart. For this reason, it’s important to wear adequate winter clothing to prevent your body from getting too cold.

Tip #3: Ditch the Cigarettes and Booze

You may feel inclined to have a hot toddy and a cigar during a cold winter holiday (especially if you feel overwhelmed by holiday stress). However, both alcohol and nicotine can negatively impact your heart health. Instead, reach for a warm, non-alcoholic beverage, and stick to stoking the fire instead of lighting a cigarette.

Tip #4: Avoid Hibernation

When the temperatures drop below freezing, it’s tempting to tuck yourself under a thick blanket and “Netflix and nap” the weekend away. However, staying active and avoiding prolonged sedentary periods are crucial when it comes to heart health. Resolve to get to the indoor gym for a walk around the track at least three times a week to boost your heart health. Then, you can treat yourself to a well-deserved movie on the couch, knowing you’ve put your heart health first.

Learning More About Winter Heart Health

Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates is committed to providing the highest quality of care in a patient-centered environment every season of the year—including the depths of winter. Our offices are conveniently located in Flemington, Clinton, and Bridgewater. We have subspecialty offices available, so our patients receive the proper care for their condition. To make an appointment with one of our cardiologists, please contact us today.

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