Many of us dread winter. It gets darker earlier, we shy away from the outdoors, and more people tend to get sick this time of year. And it’s cold.
Being cold is annoying at best and life-threatening at worst. Fortunately, there are several easy, smart things you can do to stay warm. Here are some low-cost savvy tips to stay warm this winter.
Shiver = Warning
Shivering is your body’s natural defense mechanism against the cold as it generates heat. If you’re shivering, take it as a warning. Get inside or turn up the heat.
People who are so cold they have hypothermia will stop shivering, so if you notice an extremely cold person not shiver, consider this a medical emergency.
Eat, Be Merry
Your body needs calories to warm up. That’s why some people feel hungrier and eat more during the winter months. To avoid overdoing it on Christmas dinner, choose complex carbohydrates, lean meats, and comforting winter vegetables like squash and zucchini. Meanwhile, take it easy on the apple pie.
Interestingly, iced coffee can speed up your metabolism and make you feel warmer. Conversely, that spicy ramen that makes you sweat actually cools your body down.
But Avoid Drinking
Contrary to popular belief, drinking alcohol does not warm you up. You may feel warm, but this sensation is the result of vasodilation. When you drink, your arteries dilate, causing blood to flow from your body’s core to its outer areas. Your heat redistributes and is felt more on the skin.
This phenomenon can be dangerous. Your body is essentially tricked into not performing its cold defense mechanisms such as shivering and vasoconstricting. Under natural circumstances, the body prioritizes the organs and direct blood flow there. When you drink, this is reversed. Moreover, if your perceived warmth causes you to sweat, your body will cool down even more.
Lower Your Heating Bills
To avoid unnecessarily high heating bills, take advantage of solar energy (it’s free!) by letting in sunlight during the day and closing your curtains at night for extra insulation. Furthermore, just lowering your thermostat to about 68F will grant you significant savings on your heating. Turn down the heat when you’re out and when you’re asleep, and if you’re cold, throw on an extra sweater.
Remember, cold weather does not cause the cold! Scientists now believe that a reason why we tend to get sick more often in winter is because we tend to stay indoors more, crammed into small spaces with other people and creating a fantastic environment for germs to spread.With rare exceptions, the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine before flu season begins.
Practice good hygiene, especially in winter. Wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, and try to sleep well and keep stress low.
Also, go outside! Try fun winter activities like ice skating, skiing, and even snowball fighting to get your body up and moving. Which leads us to our next point…
Commuters may notice that the cold is more tolerable when you walk and less tolerable when you’re standing still and waiting for the bus.
Not only does the act of exercising raise core body temperature, winter exercises may increase energy and boost immunity, two key things you need during the season of colds, coughs, and early-darkness-induced lethargy.
It’s inevitable that at some point in your life, you’ll get sick. While bedrest, fluids, and nutrition are simple treatments for the cold, illnesses like seasonal influenza and pneumonia can be serious and you’re more at risk for them if you’re already sick.
Medications like antivirals can break the bank, so consider buying your prescription drugs from international and Canadian pharmacies online. A Canada pharmacy referral service like Rx Connected offers a secure shopping experience as well as low-cost drugs that have been rigorously vetted and approved by licensing bodies.
You Can Get Used to It
Fortunately, it is possible to get used to the cold. People who spend more time outdoors can acclimatize. For otherwise healthy people, acclimatizing can take about two weeks. However, lean people may find it more difficult to adjust to the cold because they have less surface area on the skin.
Getting through winter can be a real grind, but staying healthy, eating well, and even making yourself cold occasionally can help you breeze through it. Before you’ll know it, it’ll be springtime. Then summer will come and you’ll be looking for ways to cool down!