For a healthy heart in winter

Winter offers unique opportunities to be active. However, the cold weather can make it difficult to exercise and the lack of sunshine can demotivate you.

It’s one of the reasons why people are more likely to develop problems with cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight during the winter – all of which are risk factors for heart disease and heart disease. Stroke. Plus, shoveling snow can put unwanted stress on your heart.

Fortunately, you can avoid these problems by following a few tips.

Safe shoveling

Shoveling can be a great way to stay active in the cold season, but it’s vigorous exercise. Here’s how to shovel safely and reduce your risk of injury:

  • Be careful. If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, shoveling can overwork your cardiovascular system. Wearing a heart rate monitor is a great way to check the intensity of your efforts. Ask a family member, friend or neighbor to help you if needed.
  • Warm up. A longer warm-up period is necessary in cold weather. Shovel at the pace that suits you.
  • Choose the right shovel. There are different types and lengths of shovels. By using a shovel with a smaller blade, you reduce your risk of muscle injury. Choose a shovel whose height suits your height. A shovel that is too short will force you to bend over more and you risk injuring your back.
  • Take breaks. It is important to listen to your body and take breaks. Reverse the position of your hands and change the side from which you shovel to give your muscles a break.
  • Use proper technique. Is the snow light and fluffy or heavy and soggy? In the latter case, it is preferable to use a shovel with a smaller blade to reduce the weight to be lifted. Position your feet well on the floor. Place one hand as close to the blade as possible and lift the shovel using your legs (do not bend your back). Keep the shovel close to your body to make it easier. Do not twist your back. Instead, move your feet to deposit the snow.
Stay active during the cold season

You may find it difficult to get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week when it’s cold outside. Here are some tips to help you exercise safely outdoors:

  • Wear several layers of clothing. It works better than wearing a thick coat. As your body warms up, you can remove clothes to be more comfortable. Wear a scarf or neck warmer or a loose balaclava to make it easier to breathe, especially if you have asthma.
  • Focus on your warm-up. Warm up longer because your body has to work harder to keep warm in cold weather.
  • Don’t overwork yourself. Aim for a moderate intensity level.
  • Drink a lot of water. Cold, dry air can dehydrate you.
  • Be careful not to fall. If you are walking or running in the snow, wear waterproof shoes with non-slip soles. Use a pair of walking sticks to help keep your balance.
Take care of your mental health

You may be suffering from seasonal depression, a feeling of sadness exacerbated by lack of sunlight, added stress and social isolation. Here’s how to improve your mood and feel better:

  • Spend time with your friends and family. Having conversations with others can release oxytocin (the hormone of social interaction and love), which will help you feel good and reduce your stress levels. When you laugh, endorphins are released in your body. This hormone also helps you feel better.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a day to maintain physical and brain health.