Seven ways to stay heart healthy
With temperatures dropping below zero, it can be challenging to stay heart healthy during the winter months. Cold weather can have a negative effect on your body, working harder to keep up its core temperature. Arteries can constrict to conserve heat, which can be bad news for those who already have heart problems.
Fortunately, there is something you can do to help your body during these cold months. You can be heart healthy.
Being heart healthy means eating well and staying active. Dr. George Vertes, a cardiologist at The Scarborough Hospital, explains the many things you can do to be conscious of the needs of your heart:
- Visit your doctor for an annual check-up to monitor your risk for heart disease. Be aware of your family history and keep track of your blood sugar levels, cholesterol profile and blood pressure.
- Reduce your exposure to stressful situations. Remember to take time to unwind before or after a stressful day. Do the things that help you relax. Yoga is also a great way to reduce your stress level.
- Eat vegetables and fruit every day. Eat foods that are low in saturated fats and sodium, and lean cuts of meats. If possible, plan your meals ahead and be conscious of what you are eating when at a restaurant. A heart healthy diet is always a wise choice.
- Smoking can negatively affect your health and the health of those around you. Being exposed to cigarette smoke can cause plaque build-up in your arteries, limit the amount of oxygen in your blood and increase your risk of developing blood clots.
- Get some physical activity each day. Take advantage of local or company gyms to do cardio workouts or participate in group fitness classes.
- Do not overeat. Don’t put your body under the stress of the latest unhealthy diet trend. Keep track of your waist circumference, weight and BMI and know whether you’re in the healthy weight range for your height and gender.
- Contact your doctor if you have any of these warning signs of heart disease, such as chest discomfort or undue shortness of breath.