Happy National Heart Month

Hey there Sunshiners! February is National Heart Health month and we want to show you how much we 💛 you. The weather affects your heart, especially during the harsh Winter months, but you can combat it and stay happy and healthy all year round! 👏👏👏

Cold weather puts extreme strain on your heart. Blood vessels and arteries narrow, restricting blood flow and oxygen to the heart, making heart attacks 33% more common during Winter months and strokes 30% more common. After doing some research on how to keep healthy and taking a scroll through our Vibes section, we found a lot of Sunshiners practicing heart healthy Winter habits!

Stay Warm Indoors

Blood vessels constrict when you’re cold, making it harder for blood and oxygen to get to your heart. By staying indoors and raising the temperature, your body will warm up, causing your blood vessels to dilate and allow blood to flow more easily. Since your body also has to work overtime when you’re cold to warm you and avoid hypothermia, turning up the heater or even wrapping up in a blanket can raise your temperature and take some of the strain off of your heart.

Get Up and Move Every Hour

Cold weather vasoconstriction combined with inactivity can make it easier to develop blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. It’s easy to feel sluggish during Winter and want to stay in front of the TV for hours playing video games, but it’s reccommended that you get up at least once an hour during these times. Set a timer to remind you to do a few jumping jacks or some light stretches. All it takes is a few minutes and it could save your life.

Consume Hot Drinks and Meals

As we said earlier, being cold puts a tremendous strain on your heart. Eating hot foods like oatmeal or soups and drinking hot beverages like tea can raise your core temperature and take some of that strain off of your heart. Plus, it’s just simply delicious! 😋

Wear Lots of Layers

Build a fortress of sweaters. The best way to stay warm when you’re out and about isn’t to wear one thick layer but instead to wear many thinner layers. Layering a tight underlayer — like long johns — can help hold in your body heat, while adding a thick sweater under a heavy coat can make it harder for cold air to get to you.

Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin D

During the Summer, we get a steady dose of vitamin D from sunlight, but in the Winter we often stay indoors and miss out on the little sunlight there is. This is a bummer because vitamin D can reduce blood pressure, which can rise during the Winter. You can make up for this by eating foods that contain high levels of vitamin D. Fatty fish, fortified milk and juice, beef liver (yum?😝), and egg yolks are all excellent sources of vitamin D.

Avoid Processed Foods

Since blood pressure can rise in colder weather, it’s important to stay away from foods high in sodium. Processed foods are the worst culprit, often packing in many times your daily recommended value into one meal. So eat fresh whenever you can and use spices instead of salt!

Stay Out of Stressful Situations

From traffic in urban areas to bad personal relationships, stressful situations can raise blood pressure and put a strain on your health. Also, they suck, so avoid them whenever possible.

If you absolutely must deal with stressful situations — like that coworker that always thinks they’re right 🙄— unwind and relax when you get home. Put on a good movie, make yourself something yummy to eat, and chill.

Spread Good Vibes

At Sunshine, we encourage a healthy, balanced lifestyle and we see that reflected in our community. From sending each other positive Vibes on hard days to making suggestions on how to make the most out of bad weather, our Sunshiners are spreading a healthy message and we love it! So keep it up guys and remember that the Vibes you send out always come back to you. ✌️😉

The Sunshine Team