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Encourage Circulation in Colder Weather

Winter brings colder temperatures and, in some places, ice and snow.

Plummeting temperatures can turn nearly any landscape into a winter wonderland with brisk air, ice, and snow. Cold weather can also affect how blood flows in your body.

One of the greatest dangers in winter is losing body heat, especially around your vital organs. Your body prevents heat loss and protects vital organs from cold temperatures by pulling blood – and its warmth – towards the core of your body. It does this by constricting blood vessels in your extremities when the air around you drops to 59º Fahrenheit or lower.

While constriction of your blood vessels keep your vital organs warm, it leaves less blood in your extremities, which means that the tissues in your arms and legs are not getting the warm, oxygen-rich blood they need.

Colder weather also causes your heart and circulatory system to work harder. Narrowed blood vessels causes higher blood pressure, as your body has to move the same volume of blood around inside skinner blood vessels. Your heart also has to work harder to pump your blood through those narrowed vessels.

Stimulating your circulation help keep those blood vessels open to reduce blood pressure and extra workload on your heart associated with colder weather.

Ways to Stimulate Circulation in Colder Weather

Stay Warm

Stay inside during cold weather. Wear layers of appropriate clothing, which traps heat near your skin, when you must venture out into the cold. Insulated, water-resistant gloves and boots help keep your hands and feet warm and dry.

Keep Moving

Engage in moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, to stimulate circulation. Avoid overdoing it, though, as exercising in the cold puts additional strain on your heart. This is especially true for those who are otherwise sedentary – people who do not exercise regularly should avoid shoveling heavy snow, for example, as the exertion puts extra stress on the circulatory system and heart, and could even cause a heart attack.

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated in cold weather is as important as getting enough fluids in the heat of summer. While steaming hot cocoa, tea, or coffees are tempting, they can add a lot of unwanted calories, sugar, and caffeine into your system. Coffee and tea are also diuretics, which mean they cause your body to get rid of water.

Stay Healthy

Keep your heart and blood vessels in top working order. Take prescription medications as directed, for example, especially medications to control blood pressure or cholesterol. Eat a low fat, heart healthy diet that helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Schedule a heart scan to detect and treat any problems early, before you venture into the cold or shovel that snow.

Excellent circulation can help you stay warm and avoid health problems. For more information on stimulating circulation in cold weather, consult with your doctor, physical therapist or other health care professional. Schedule an appointment with Virtual Imaging today by calling 770-730-0119.