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    Wellbeing
    1234 · 20 min read

    How to stay warm in winter

    It is no secret that this winter may be one of the most difficult we have faced in modern times. Ensuring you stay warm this winter is very important, but with energy prices rising and the cost of living crisis looming, simply putting your heating on may not be a viable option for some people. In this article, we will provide you with different ways that you can keep yourself and your family warm during the winter months. Our advice will cover different methods from physical exercise, diet, clothing, using utilities, and avoiding illness. 

    Why does your body temperature decrease in winter?

    So why does your body temperature actually decrease in the winter? It may seem obvious, but the lower temperatures the weather brings in the winter months are the major factor for this. Body temperature decreases in cold weather as there is a reduction in peripheral blood flow, this lowers convective heat transfer in the body. Your body will struggle to keep heat in during winter, and more heat is lost via the extremities such as the top of the head, the neck, the ankles, and the wrists. 

    How can I keep my body warm in the winter?

    So how can you keep your body warm during the winter? Here are some common questions that people ask about different methods for regulating their temperature in the winter.

    Physical Exercise

    Will exercise keep me warm in the winter?

    When you exercise your blood flow will increase and you will begin to feel warmer. It is important to note that some exercises will not increase your body temperature. Some exercises to do to increase your body temperature include star jumps, running, and walking. These exercises will increase your blood flow, and will thus increase your body temperature.  

    Will meditating keep me warm in the winter?

    Meditation is very useful for mindfulness and practising breathing techniques. Simple meditation will not actually help you to increase your body temperature, however, there are some techniques that are practised around the world that have increased body temperature. It has been noted some monks have increased their body temperature in their feet and hands by up to 17°F.

    Will forceful breathing keep me warm in the winter?

    Forceful breathing is a respiratory technique that activates additional muscles in the stomach. These muscles expand and contract and will most commonly occur during rigorous exercise. There are no links between forceful breathing and temperature increase, although the exercise you are doing is likely to increase body temperature. 

    Diet

    Will eating enough calories keep me warm in the winter?

    People often eat more in the winter months. This can be due to holidays such as Christmas, or simply just comfort eating. Consuming more calories will actually play a role in increasing body temperature as you are basically putting more energy into your system. When your body is breathing heavier due to the cold you are going to burn more calories. This will then make you feel hungrier and you may eat more. 

    Will eating enough Vitamin B12 keep me warm in the winter?

    Vitamin B12 is important as it helps to produce healthy red blood cells in the body. When you have low levels of vitamin B12, your blood circulation may be worsened. This can lead to areas of your body being colder in the winter. Commonly affected areas include hands and feet. By eating plenty of foods rich in vitamin B12, you will help to ensure your blood circulation remains healthy. Foods high in vitamin B12 include meat, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs. 

    Will eating spicy food keep me warm in the winter?

    You may think that this is not the case, however, there is some proof that eating spicy foods can help you to remain warm, at least for a short period of time in the winter. Eating spicy food can also help to keep you healthy over the winter. Spicy foods often contain nutritional ingredients that are high in vitamins C and D, vitamins that can be deficient in winter.

    Will drinking hot drinks keep me warm in the winter?

    Drinking hot drinks warms you up from both the outside and inside. If you are chilly, consider putting the kettle on to make yourself a nice hot drink. Be cautious however of consuming too much caffeine or sugar. If you have your tea or coffee with sugar, consider replacing it with a sweetener instead.

    Will drinking alcohol keep me warm in the winter?

    Alcohol is known to make you feel warm, especially in large quantities. This is due to its effects on your heart rate and blood vessels. Alcohol increases heart rate so more blood is pumped around your body quicker. This will make you feel warmer, and your skin may flush. Alcohol, however, should not be your answer when trying to stay warm in winter.

    Clothing

    Will wearing multiple layers of clothing keep me warm in the winter?

    This is something that everyone should already know. If you are cold in the winter, you should put on more layers. When you put on more layers you are going to be stopping more heat from escaping out of your skin. Heat will escape most from your head, neck, wrists, and ankles. Wearing hats, scarves, gloves and socks will help to maintain body heat. 

    Will wearing socks to bed keep me warm in the winter?

    As mentioned, heat will predominantly escape from your head, neck, wrists and ankles. Wearing socks in bed is a great way to help prevent extra heat from escaping. If you do not usually wear clothing to bed you may consider putting on pyjamas and socks, especially if your bedroom is not very well insulated. 

    Heat Hacks

    Will using a hot water bottle keep me warm in the winter?

    Yes! One of the best ways to keep warm is by using a hot water bottle. Hot water bottles are great for a number of reasons. The heat that they give off can help to improve circulation, relieve muscle tension and cramps and can also help you to relax. Hot water bottles also provide long lasting heat. A decent size hot water bottle will be able to provide you with around two to three hours of toasty warmth.

    Will a heated mattress keep me warm in the winter?

    Something you may get sick of hearing this winter is “heat yourself not your home”. One of the most popular ways of doing this is by using heated blankets and mattresses are great as they provide you with plenty of heat whilst using less energy than putting the heating on. You should ensure however to get a high-quality heated blanket as low-quality ones may pose a fire risk.

    Will closing all my doors and windows keep me warm in the winter?

    It may seem obvious, but keeping your doors and windows closed whilst there is cold weather outdoors will help to keep your home warmer. Not only will it help to keep cold out of your home, but it will also help to keep warm air trapped in your home. Houses and flats are NOT airtight and there will be some air leakage no matter what. 

    Will taking a warm shower/bath keep me warm in the winter?

    Having a hot bath or shower will also help increase not only your own personal body temperature, but it will also release hot air into your bathroom. If you have hot air in your bathroom you can open your bathroom door to release this into your bedroom if you have an ensuite, or into the rest of your home. This is not a cost-effective solution however as heating water with gas boilers will only be getting more expensive. 

    Will plug-in electric heaters keep me warm in the winter?

    Getting a plug-in electric heater has been a lot of people's answer to the looming energy crisis. Whilst this may seem like an easy way of heating your home without using central heating, it actually may end up raising your electricity bill. Electric heaters can use a lot of power and should be used sparingly in the winter. 

    Illness

    How can I prevent myself from getting a cold in the winter?

    Every winter brings with it a heightened chance of contracting either a cold, the flu, or a heightened chance of contracting coronavirus. In order to avoid catching a cold this winter, you should ensure to do the following:

    • Always ensure to wash your hands with soap and water.

    • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, especially after you have been out and about. 

    • Avoid contact with those who you know are already sick. 

    • Consider taking a vitamin C and vitamin D supplement as you may have a deficiency of these in the winter. 

    When should I see a doctor if I feel ill in the winter?

    If you begin to feel unwell in the winter you may be wondering when you should see a doctor. You are most likely to get a cold in the winter. Colds will last for a few days and will usually only require treatment from cough and cold medications. You should however visit your doctor if you have more severe symptoms such as a continuous cold, fever, or loss of appetite. 

    Sources

    https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/beat-the-cold/keeping-warm

    https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-tips-always-cold

    https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-increase-body-temperature

    https://www.wikihow.com/Increase-Body-Temperature

    https://blog.wellcare-global.com/blog/increase-body-temperature

    https://theconversation.com/its-cold-a-physiologist-explains-how-to-keep-your-body-feeling-warm-108816

    https://www.hvrxsolutions.com/nutritious-foods-keep-warm-cold-weather/

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