Top 5 Tips to Stay Heart-Healthy this Winter

Top 5 Tips to Stay Heart-Healthy this Winter

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Jan 12, 2015, at 9:48 pm


EVERY WINTER, ABOUT 1,200 AMERICANS DIE from a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). This increase spike in number of heart attack fatalities is no coincidence. The “Merry Christmas coronary” or “Happy Hanukkah heart attack” pattern that researchers have studied occurs due to a variety of seasonal variations.

five healthy heart tips for the winter listed on clipboardIn a 2004, a national study conducted by the University of California, San Diego, and Tufts University School of Medicine, researchers found an overall increase of 5-percent for heart attacks in the winter compared to any other time of the year. Because of the increased strain cold weather puts on the cardiovascular system, it’s crucial to put in additional effort in maintaining a healthy heart. We’ve created this guide in an effort to help you remain free of heart attacks this winter season.

1. Eat healthy fruits and vegetables throughout the winter. The holidays and frigid weather often tempt us with fattening and sugary comfort foods and drinks, which are okay to eat in moderation. When overindulging or simply only eating these comfort foods, we lack the nutrients and vitamins to thrive, increasing the risk for heart (and other health) complications. According to the AHA, citrus fruits, cranberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and root vegetables are the healthiest, freshest seasonally-available produce during the cold season.

2. Although the weather outside is frightful, bundle up and play outside! The energy you spend socializing and enjoying yourself outside is a workout itself, but there is enjoyment and stress-relief found in having a snowball fight or building a snowman outside. If you are feeling adventurous, you could even take up a winter sport, such as skiing or snowboarding. The average snowball fight burns about 319 calories per hour! Who would have thought?

3. Is that gym membership of yours rarely being used in the winter? You’re not alone. The motivation to go to the gym is difficult to find around this time of year. The good news is you don’t need a gym to work out! With some creativity and home space, you can workout in the warmth and comfort of your own home. You can purchase at-home work out DVDs, jump rope, practice yoga, etc. With a little creativity and motivation, getting adequate physical activity can maintain your healthy heart all winter long.

4. When was your last checkup? It’s important to check with your doctor before engaging in outdoor winter activities if you have had a history of heart complications. According to the AHA, individuals who have had a heart attack should avoid engaging in any outdoor winter activity that requires exertion, such as shoveling snow or even walking through heavy snow, as this strains the heart.

5. Get a flu shot. More than one in five Americans will suffer from the flu in the winter. Avoid becoming ill and spreading the illness by getting vaccinated.

The winter is a season full of possible adventures, but is also an important time period to rest and rejuvenate. Incorporating heart healthy habits into your wintertime routine is easier than you might think.

We want to know: What are your favorite winter activities?

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

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