Sometimes it seems like winter will never end and you’ll never be warm again. I have some fool-proof, easy ways to add some more warmth into your life even when it’s freezing outside.
Most of them don’t even require leaving the house and some may help you fight the winter blahs.
They’ll raise your body temperature and make you feel all warm and cozy so that when you do have to venture out into the snow and ice, you’ll be a lot less miserable in the cold.
Warming Tip #1: Sip Hot Soups and Teas
This isn’t exactly a “little-known” way to keep warm, but the heat from the food is actually important for reasons you may not realize. Heat is actually a nutrient! It’s why we crave “hot” foods, especially if we live in a cooler climate.
You can make your soups and teas (or even your grain and veggie dishes!) even more interesting and more warming if you add some of the following spices to the mix. This goes beyond ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne, which wouldn’t exactly count under the “little known” title since we all know about those.
Others include: • Black pepper • Cardamom • Garlic • Horseradish root • Allspice • Cloves • Turmeric • Curry • Nutmeg • Star anise Not all of these are “spicy” or “hot.”
With the exception of horseradish root, they’re warming, but not in the same way as certain peppers, like jalepeños or habañeros, are. If you’re not used to it, horseradish can be quite a spicy, pungent shock to your mouth and sinuses at first, so start out slowly with that one!
Warming Tip #2: Take a Cold Shower
Is just the thought of taking a cold shower in the winter sending shivers up your spine? It’s counter-intuitive, that’s for sure! A cold shower does more than cool you off after a long outdoor workout in the summer.
When it’s cold outside, you can hop into the shower for a few minutes of cold water and turn on your body’s adaptive response to help regulate heat. You can start with your normal hot/warm shower and then switch to cold after a few minutes. Stand there until your body begins to warm itself up. It’ll happen!
As a side note, a study published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health(i) showed that regular exposure to cold water in the winter, (in this case, winter swimming), can boost your well-being and mood.
Maybe cold showers are a way to get some of those benefits even if you’re not much of a swimmer.
Warming Tip #3: Try a HIIT Workout
Kimberly doesn’t regularly do these types of workouts, and the closest she probably gets to HIIT, is hiking. Nevertheless, they are great for warming you up and keeping your body warm (and burning fat—even belly fat) for long after the workout’s over.
Anything that’ll make you less likely to notice the winter temperature drop even after you’ve stopped doing it sounds like a good idea to me, but you should consult with your doctor before you start.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and your heart rate will get up during your workouts. They can be pretty strenuous, as you’re alternating high intensity bursts of activity (like running or sprinting) with slightly longer, lower intensity—but still active—exercises (like walking or jogging).
If you’ve heard of tabatas, this is a form of HIIT workout (usually 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest for a set number of minutes, anywhere from four to 20). HIIT is also linked to a boosted metabolism and fat loss.
Warming Tip #4: Spend Time in an Infrared Sauna
An infrared sauna is good for more than just detoxing the body and giving you beautiful skin! When you want to warm up and relax, you can slip inside an infrared sauna for 20-30 minutes. It will warm you up, make you sweat, and release toxins from your cells.
Infrared light heats the body from within, so you’re not just sitting in a room full of hot air, sweating. When you use an infrared sauna, it’s increasing your core body temperature, boosting your circulation, and even boosts your respiration while you sweat (sounds a lot like exercise, right? But in this case, you get to sit back and relax!).
There are several different styles of infrared saunas. A lot of cities have spas that have them, and those are usually the pretty big ones.
Warming Tip #5: Consume More Coconut Oil
Here’s one more reason to love coconuts! You may not be able to enjoy the heat of the tropics all year, but the little coconuts will bring you some warmth no matter where you live. Coconut oil actually increases thermogenesis.
In a study using ten male volunteers between the ages of 22 and 44, the thermogenic effects of medium-chain triglycerides (like the ones in coconut oil) surpassed those of long-chain triglycerides.
Beat the Winter Time Blues
While these ideas may not be a substitute for summer, they’ll take the edge off of the winter chill! If you fill up on yummy, spicy soups and hot herbal teas, that’s a good start that will work for anyone.
If you’re up for it, you can try a few new things that will add a little excitement to the shorter days, like HIIT and the infrared sauna.
Little by little, these small steps add up to noticeable improvements in your body’s warmth, leading to much better health throughout this season. And before you know it, the snow will be melting and the sun will be inviting you outside again!