Did you know that there is a higher risk of heart attacks during the winter months, especially near the holidays? It’s sad but true. There is generally an influx of heart attacks between the months of November and March, and if you already have some cardiovascular factors, your risk can increase during this time.
While the holidays are associated with a great deal of stress, we shouldn’t forget that it’s also a joyful time. Yes, we’re running around, but we get to catch up with family and friends. The problem here is, these get-togethers often involve eating too much food.
Many people dread the holiday season because they inevitably put on extra weight. Being overweight or obese is a heart attack risk factor, so if you want to protect your heart you should manage your weight.
Sure, it’s easier said than done. To help you out, a recent study has uncovered this one thing you should do before your holiday meals.
Brief exercise reduces the risk of a heart attack
Before you sit down and eat, go for a walk to reduce your risk of a heart attack. The research uncovered that hourly five-minute microbursts of moderate activity can boost energy and minimize food cravings. Translation: You feel better, eat less, and don’t put on weight!
Even that short amount of movement is enough to get blood flow going, helping you feel alert all the while suppressing hunger. In addition, walking around will keep your mind off food – another appetite-reducing tactic. So instead of sitting around the table waiting for food and munching on appetizers, keep your mind and feet busy by moving around.
In the words of a cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, “Your body isn’t able to metabolize everything fast enough. It stresses your system.”
Enjoying heavily salted food, along with alcohol and dessert, can raise your blood pressure and blood sugar, hurting your heart. Going for a walk or exercising prior to a meal can help keep those levels healthy – including your triglyceride numbers. As we mentioned, walking can suppress appetite, too.
Don’t feel pressed to hit the gym, any form of exercise works. Even a 10 to 30-minute walk, or any physical activity for that matter, can improve your heart health. You may feel drowsy immediately after a meal, but resist the urge to lie down. Instead, get up again and go for a short walk, maybe go up and down a staircase a few times? Any form of activity will aid in digestion and improve heart health at the same time.
This year, enjoy your holidays without increasing your waistline or compromising your heart health – simply by walking a few extra steps.