Many of us struggle to get excited about working out on dark winter mornings, including Baptist Health cardiologist Michael Faulkner, MD. “I find that if I am able to work out with a friend – to keep us both accountable – it seems easier to stay motivated.” Dr. Faulkner said working out in a gym and seeing others staying active can push you as well. If all else fails, there’s bribery. Promise yourself a hot chocolate if you exercise for 30 minutes. After all, chocolate is a source of antioxidants.
Seek Out The Sun
“I usually get a touch of the ‘winter blues’ with the cold temperatures and early sunsets,” said Dr. Faulkner. “I often find that I go into work before the sun comes up and come home after it has gone down.” He suggests staying as active as you can, especially outdoors when the sun is up. Open your curtains; keep light coming in. And be social – connect with people who can provide support when you’re feeling down.
Roughly 28,000 people visited emergency rooms in 2013 for injuries related to shoveling. The problems arise when sedentary people attempt to quickly clear entire driveways. “This can lead to back problems, muscle problems – not to mention increase the risk of heart attack,” said Dr. Faulkner. Check with your doctor before shoveling if you have existing heart problems. If you experience any shortness of breath or dizziness, stop.
To avoid back strain, use a shovel you can maneuver easily. Keep your back straight and bend your knees, lifting with your legs. Avoid bending at the waist. Clear large drifts in pieces. Also, make sure you’re wearing boots with good traction. Sneakers or athletic shoes are no match for ice.