Winter workout and heart health guidance from the American Heart Association
Many people think January is a great time to get a fresh start on a new fitness routine, while others use the cold weather as an excuse to huddle under the covers on the couch. No matter how you approach the new year, the American Heart Association has some important information about how to get healthy – and stay healthy – when the temperatures start to dip.
“Some advantages to working out in cold weather are that with no heat and humidity to deal with, you may be able to work out longer in cold weather which means you can burn even more calories. Another benefit is you can get much needed vitamin D from the sunlight, which can help elevate your mood,” said Dr. Eric Holland, interventional cardiologist with Baptist Heart.
Research shows that exercise also boosts your immunity during the cold and flu season, which can be especially important in dealing with possible COVID infection.
If you can’t exercise outdoors, there are many online resources available to assist in developing a workout at home, or you can still visit a gym or even walk the mall if they use the appropriate precautions to protect against COVID.
If you are heading outdoors for exercise, there are cardiovascular risks to consider. The cold causes blood vessels to contract and coronary arteries to constrict, which can raise blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Here are some tips to keep your heart in check during coat season:
- Stay active safely: Make sure you wear layers to keep warm while exercising outdoors to avoid cold weather hazards and take breaks. It’s important to stay active year-round but make sure you’re not overexerting yourself in winter months. When in doubt, ask your doctor.
- Stay hydrated: Just because it’s cold and you may not feel thirsty, it’s just as important to drink water like you would during a warm weather workout. Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink, even if you aren’t sweating as much you still need to hydrate.
- Watch out for the added calories in cold weather drinks: Comforting drinks like pumpkin spiced lattes and hot chocolate can be loaded with unwanted sugar and fat.
- Get vaccinated: COVID-19 and the flu are especially dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease.
- Learn CPR: EMS response times can be slower with inclement weather. More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of a hospital each ear. If administered immediately after cardiac arrest, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
For information on services and screenings offered at Baptist Heart, visit baptistheart.org or call 601-968-1966.
Source: American Heart Association
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