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Keep Exercising, Watch Your Heart Over the Holidays

Tips for fighting stress during the holidays include exercising and getting organized. (Pixabay/Free-Photos)
Tips for fighting stress during the holidays include exercising and getting organized. (Pixabay/Free-Photos)
December 18, 2018

ARLINGTON, Va. — Research from the American Heart Association says cardiac mortality is highest during December and January.

Doctors point to holiday stress and lack of exercise as contributing factors. And the researchers said people may delay seeking treatment when they're busy with friends and family.

Cardiologist Dr. Roquell Wyche said it's never smart to ignore discomfort or symptoms of a heart attack. She warned against getting too busy for self-care by sticking with a workout routine or considering starting one.

"The best way for you to maintain your heart healthiness during all of this busy season is to continue to work out,” Wyche said. “So set that time for yourself, make a promise to yourself that every day you're going to have a very specific time in which you're going to try to get some exercise in. It could be a 10 minute walk."

Wyche said exercising not only keeps your heart healthy but also helps to manage stress, which is heightened during holidays. Emotional stress is another risk factor for heart disease.

The Heart Association says everyone should be aware of their individual risk factors, whether high blood pressure, diabetes or a strong family history, and discuss them with their doctor. Wyche said another tip for reducing stress is simply knowing when to say no.

"Sometimes it's OK for you to say, 'I don't have to go to every single thing or every single party,’” she said; “and so that you can make sure that you take some time to actually relax and recharge, take some time for yourself just to kind of sort of collect your thoughts and reduce your stress."

She added it's worth keeping an eye on those holiday drinks and treats and to make sure to have a healthy snack before attending the party. She said people should strive to be healthy all year instead of waiting to do it all at one time.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - VA