Cold weather can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as flu, colds and coronavirus.

We’ve teamed up with the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) to identify some simple tips to help keep yourself healthy while the weather is cold.

Manage your condition

Your heart needs to work much harder in colder temperatures to keep blood pumping around your body.

If your heart health and underlying conditions such as diabetes are well managed, you’re less likely to have problems if you do get a cold. An important way to support your heart health is by taking your medication on time.

Keeping to a schedule, setting reminders, and getting your repeat prescription ordered before you run out of medications can help you to keep on top of your routine.

If you have questions about heart and circulatory diseases, BHF’s experienced cardiac nurses are available to help answer your questions or concerns.

Call 0808 802 1234 for free, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays) or get in touch via this link, email or online chat.

Fuel your body with tasty, healthy food

It’s common to crave comfort food during the colder months – but it’s all about balance when it comes to your diet. This is just as true around this time of year.

While heavy, stodgy dishes might be tempting during the chilly weather, it’s important to fuel your body with the food it needs to stay healthy.

Fruit and veggies are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals that can help support your immune system as part of a healthy, balanced diet, helping you to fight off colds.

Keep moving

Living with obesity puts strain on your body, heart and immune system and may make it less effective at fighting infections.

Exercising can be harder in the winter as the dark evenings and rainy weather can make us feel less motivated. However, there are lots of activities you can do indoors instead.

Look after your mental health and wellbeing

Looking after your mental health is important all year round. However, shorter days, darker nights and more time indoors can make us feel especially low. The lack of sunlight also means that many of us aren’t getting the right amount of Vitamin D.

It’s recommended that we all consider taking a 10 microgram Vitamin D supplement in autumn and winter to help protect our bone and muscle health. You might also need to take this year-round if you don’t go outside very much or if you cover most of your skin when you do.

Being active and keeping in touch with friends and family can also help improve your mood.

Many people also find practicing mindfulness or meditation useful – why not try putting 10 minutes a day in your diary?

Managing stress is also particularly important in the colder months, as too much can affect how our immune system works.

Hormones from stress may suppress immune function and increase blood pressure.

It might also lead to us reaching for sugary snacks and drinking too much alcohol which will impact your overall mood.

Discover more heart health support

Living with diabetes and a heart condition can leave you searching for answers.  That’s why having easy access to information from a trusted source is important.

British Heart Foundation is here to help.

Visit bhf.org.uk/questions to find out more.

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