Throughout the winter, depending on where you live, we can expect it to be cold. Not only is this a comfort issue, it can be a safety concern as well. There are several dangers to being overly cold, like hypothermia or even an increased risk of heart attack. There’s even some truth to the old wives’ tale that being cold can make you more likely to get sick. These risks are even more prominent for seniors, who lose body heat easier and may be less aware of just how cold they are. So, if you’re feeling cold, how can you warm up quickly in the winter?
There are, of course, the obvious suggestions, like turn up the heat in your home, build a fire in the fireplace, or go inside if you’re outside. But these aren’t always an option or may not heat you up right away. As a result, we went on the hunt for some effective ways to warm up quickly.
Drink Warm Liquids
There’s some debate over how effective drinking hot liquids can be for heating you up on a cold day. One study found that hot drinks can immediately warm you up by about 2.6°F, though this is only a mild warming. Hot drinks may also activate the thermal receptors in your digestive system, which gives your body a warming sensation. What you drink may also influence the warming factor. Coffee or other caffeinated beverages may help warm you up. The caffeine you find in those drinks can boost your metabolism, which causes your body to burn calories, creating heat. Some argue that the diuretic effect may undo some of these heating benefits, literally peeing away some of the warmth. That said, if you’re looking for a quick boost, it may be just enough to make it worth it.
Throw a Sweater in the Dryer
One of the most assured ways to get warm quickly is with one of the least popular chores — laundry. If you own a dryer, you have a machine that’s made to heat up your clothes. Have you ever finished laundry and thrown on a pair of comfy socks right out of the dryer? You can use this to warm you up quickly on a cold day. If you have to do chore outside, like shoveling snow, you can throw a set of clothes in the dryer to put on when you come inside. If you need a quick warm up when you’re chilly in the house, put a sweater or blanket in the dryer for a short spin cycle to give it a little extra heat. While it won’t last for a very long time, this heat should be enough to beat that initial chill.
Get Up and Move
When you’re cold, one of the last things you many think about doing is getting up and exercising. Being chilly is basically an open invitation to snuggle under a warm blanket, but exercise is a really effective (and healthy) way to warm up. As we work out, we burn fat and carbohydrates, creating internal heat and raising our body temperature. It’s why exercising makes you sweat, as a form of temperature regulation. If it’s too cold outside to go for a run, there are ways you can still exercise inside to warm up. If you do opt to exercise outdoors, make sure you watch out for cold weather injuries that can crop up due to the added stress the temperature can put on your body.
Take a Warm and Cold Shower
It may seem counterproductive to take a cold shower on a cold day, but a mixed shower, with periods of hot and cold water, may actually leave you feeling better than before. The hot water warms your skin and immediately helps you to feel warmer. On the other hand, a cold shower helps you to feel warmer by improving circulation and raising your core temperature. By warming yourself with hot water and switching to cold, you can help your blood flow and warm both your skin and core.
If you’re feeling cold, making yourself a snack or meal could be a great way to heat up. It achieves this in two ways. The first is that the cooking elements you use can heat the room up. We’ve discussed this in the past as a way to save on energy costs during the summer, but when you cook on the stovetop or in the oven, they create heat to cook. This heat has to go somewhere — in this case, into the kitchen. At the same time, once cooking is done, you can still warm up a bit by eating what you made. Eating sets off the process of digestion, which can raise your body temperature by as much as 2°F!
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The best way to warm up during the winter is to keep from getting cold in the first place. That means bundling up properly before going out and taking all necessary precautions. Even then, there will be some winter days where the thickest winter coat can’t keep out the cold. When that happens, use these tricks and winter will be that much more comfortable!