Winter weather can put a crimp on your health and outdoor safety. A number of studies have shown that there are more heart attacks and strokes in the winter months, potentially from the cooler temperatures. One physician framed it this way; the circulation is sluggish due to the body being colder. (Think thickened or congealed blood, which increases the chance for clots). More than one study advocates for staying warm through layers that can be removed or added as needed. Try not to get chilled or stay immobile for long. Wear appropriate clothing outdoors, including rain gear and waterproof boots. In our climate, wind chill and hypothermia will kill you faster than most anything. Consider adding a hat, gloves or mittens, and a scarf.
Just because it’s frozen outside should not stop you from enjoying a walk or completing outdoor chores. Warm up before you head out; cold muscles are more prone to injury since they are less elastic. Walk around the house, maybe do some vacuuming or go up and down the stairs. If you have problems with balance, take a friend and/or an assistive device. Remember that sudden stop we talked about last month? It hurts more when the ground is frozen. Work slowly and carry a cell phone with you in a secure pocket. There is nothing more annoying than falling, and having the phone fall out and bounce out of reach.
If you plan to shovel snow, split wood or clean up yard debris, use the appropriate tool. Warm up as with exercising by walking around the yard doing light activity first. Choose a shovel that is made of lightweight plastic with a D-shaped handle grip to reduce twisting. If we do have snow, think about pushing it into mounds instead of lifting shovel-fulls. A blower is handy for clearing off steps and spaces around vehicles. If it’s just too cold and frozen outside to enjoy a walk or safely complete activities, wait for another time. It may warm up later in the day or the weather may change.
Thank you all for your positive feedback, I have enjoyed writing this column the past two years. I am going to take a break, but I may pop in now and then. Have a Blessed Holiday with health, harmony, and happiness in the coming year.