You wouldn’t know it by observing the weather outside, but we’re only a few days away from the official start of winter. The balmy temperatures found in areas that are usually below the freezing point at this time of year have extended the time many of us are spending outdoors—but it won’t last forever.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend like sub-zero temperatures are particularly inviting; however, the winter does present some unique opportunities to stay active and have fun.
Stick with me and I’ll share with you some cool—no pun intended—ways to embrace the season and reduce your risk of cardiovascular trauma and boost your heart health this winter.
The Winter-Heart Health Link
Keeping your heart healthy with activity during the long winter season is extremely important, largely because most people simply aren’t conditioned to deal with the realities of winter. Walking through snow, shoveling snow, and even bundling up to go outdoors are activities that place much more demand on your heart. If you’re not used to it, or have a history of heart problems, your risk for experiencing a cardiac episode increases.
The best way to keep your heart healthy and ready for increased demands is to stay active. Here are some ideas that can help you maintain or improve your fitness levels when it’s cold outside:
Winter Heart Health Booster #1: Join a Gym or Fitness Class
If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, winter is the perfect time to check out a gym membership or join a Pilates, spin, or dance class. Many community centers and gyms have special classes for seniors, so there is something for everyone’s needs. Most gyms really die down in the winter (except for the first few weeks in January), so it’s the perfect time to get in and learn how to use the equipment.
Winter Heart Health Booster #2: Snowshoeing
I tried this for the first time a few years ago when my city was buried in snow and I loved it. Snowshoes make it easy to walk in the snow, and also let you get outside for some fresh air and exercise in the winter months. You can take advantage of trails in your area and do some valuable sightseeing as well.
Winter Heart Health Booster #3: Ice Skating
Skating is one of my favorite winter activities, especially on an outdoor rink. Skating is relatively easy to learn if you put in the effort and it is a fun way to get cardiovascular exercise, regardless of the season. Go with friends and enjoy a hot chocolate afterwards!
Don’t Be a Winter Couch Potato
Don’t let the cold temperatures on the horizon keep you from staying healthy and having some fun with it. Embrace the season and reduce your risk of cardiovascular trauma this winter.