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Colder Weather, Holiday Stress Provide Dangerous Mix for Iowans

The American Heart Association says people gain an extra three pounds on average each holiday season. (
The American Heart Association says people gain an extra three pounds on average each holiday season. (
December 19, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The holiday season can be stressful for most people.

But when you add cold weather, the risks for heart scares and other stress-induced illnesses become even greater.

The American Heart Association has tips for Iowans to stay healthy in the coming days.

Jolene Bopp, communications director for the American Heart Association of Iowa, says it's no secret there's an increase of heart disease and strokes this time of year.

She says one way to avoid that is to not completely ditch your normal eating and activity routine, just because the holidays are here.

"You know, if you don't completely give up your healthy habits, you won't feel like you have to start over once the holidays are over," she states.

Another eating tip is to have a healthy snack before going to a party so that you don't overindulge on treats.

Bopp says colder weather provides an added layer of stress because it makes your heart work harder to keep your body warm. She says getting outside, even when it's very cold, is good for the body.

But she says it's crucial to give yourself adequate breaks when doing outside activities, such as shoveling.

Bopp says making sure you're trained on CPR also is important. She says situations where CPR is suddenly needed, such as a holiday festivity, are never planned.

"It can happen anytime," she warns. "It can happen to the person next to you. It could be you and you're relying on a stranger."

The American Heart Association has information on how and where you can receive CPR training at its website, There, you can also find tips on staying healthy during the holiday season.

Disclosure: American Heart Association of Iowa contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Smoking Prevention, Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - IA