It’s Heart Month, and throughout February we will be sharing important tips for taking care of your heart from the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, an advanced support team that provides high-quality, compassionate care in state-of-the-art facilities.
The first thing to think about is physical activity and how we can start improving our overall health right away. This time of year brings lots of opportunities for outdoor fun in the Twin Tiers. Those big winter storms also bring out the shovels and snow plows that we have all learned to despise. No matter how you’re getting your exercise these days, it’s important to remember to start small and build your way to a healthier heart.
“We all know the advantages of exercise, but sometimes our ambitions – to get the driveway clear, to go sledding with our kids – outweigh our abilities,” said Maureen Tuite, Clinical Director and Nurse Practitioner at the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute. “This time of year, we see lots of patients in our cardiac cath lab from over-exertion; trying to lift heavy snow or running up the hill with a sled can strain the heart. Additionally, the cold air makes it a little more difficult to breathe and causes more cardiac stress than warm-weather climates.”
Here are some tips for those who would like to be more active this winter, but are not used to strenuous activity:
- Go for walks at the mall or in a school gym, or find an indoor workout facility like the Senior Center or YWCA/YMCA
- Shovel lightly and take breaks often. When a big storm is upon us, try shoveling more often so the snow never becomes too deep
- Dress warmly to help prevent the affects of extremely cold air on your lungs
- Drink lots of water to help hydrate your muscles and keep your body working efficiently
Preventing injuries and set-backs by setting realistic goals is important to long-term success. Your heart and your whole body will be much healthier in the long run, and your driveway will still be clear (until the next storm)!