The colder months are here, and you may be looking for an escape from the cold. Since travel to a warm place isn’t on the table this year, try these other methods to warm up – all with an emphasis on health! From eating nutritious meals and drinking cozy drinks to working up a sweat in a sauna or while exercising, this list will help teach you how to keep your body warm naturally this winter season.
9 Natural Ways to Stay Warm in Winter
Use an Infrared Sauna
It is no secret that saunas are a quick and easy way to warm up your body. You can take this practice a step further by using an infrared sauna as infrared heat penetrates deeply into the body and helps increase blood flow. Using an infrared sauna is a great way to naturally warm yourself in the winter with the temperature inside being adjustable and averaging a comfortable 100°F to 130°F. Not only does this heat application feel nice when the weather is chilly outside, it also offers a host of health benefits that can help keep you feeling warm and healthy all season (and year) long.
Take a Ginger Bath
A bath on its own is already warming, but adding ginger to the water can step up its warming properties. Similarly to adding ginger to your diet, a ginger bath can help your body increase circulation to help your body warm up and even break a sweat. Do a test on a small patch of your skin before adding the root to your bath to test for sensitivity. Once you’re in the clear, add ½ cup of freshly grated ginger or 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger to your bath and soak for 20-30 minutes. Since this bath will definitely make you sweat, have water nearby and be ready to bundle up after.
Monitor Your Iron Intake
If you feel cold more often than average, especially in your hands and feet, it might not just be the winter weather playing a part. An iron deficiency might also be in play. A lack of iron causes anemia and inhibits oxygen from properly being delivered to your body. Eating iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, seeds, nuts, leafy greens, and dried fruit can help boost your iron intake. There are also iron supplements easily available to help boost your levels. Before taking supplements or starting a diet, talk to your doctor if you believe iron deficiency is an issue.
Having some strategic layers can help hold your body heat close to your body and keep you warm. The main goal is to reduce the amount of your skin that is exposed to the elements. Keep your tighter elements closer to your body, then layer on looser pieces to create a warm environment. Socks for gifts really aren’t that bad of an idea during the winter! It also helps to have layers that are easy to remove if you are transitioning between the cold outdoors and indoors. Don’t forget that layering your blankets on the couch or bed can also help you stay warm in the winter at home.
Get Your Body Moving
This one is pretty simple, and has a lot of benefits outside of just heating you up! Being active is one of the best ways to keep the body warm naturally in any season. When you exercise, your body burns calories, which are units of energy. This stored energy is converted to heat, which is why your body heats up. Your blood flow gets going, thus increasing circulation and making you break a sweat. Even on the coldest days, taking a brisk walk or doing some jumping jacks will make you stay warm in winter very quickly.
Eat Warming Foods
Eating is one of the most enjoyable methods when learning how to keep the body warm naturally. There is a reason why stews and spices are so popular in the winter months, and it’s because their ingredients help keep you warm and full a while. Spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cumin are warming and help promote thermogenesis, which helps boost metabolism and keep you warm. Caffeine is also a great tool for boosting metabolism. As mentioned earlier, iron-rich foods can also help prevent anemia. Lastly, whole grains and other complex carbs require more energy, or heat, to digest.
Drink Something Hot
A warm drink might not warm you from head to toe for a long time, but it is certainly comforting and gets the job done to some degree. The hot drink triggers receptors in the mouth that can cause you to sweat and feel a wave of heat . Another perk to a warm drink is the hand and face warming properties when you are holding your mug near your face. Just like the ginger bath mentioned above, you can also add in some warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to give that extra kick – some typical spices already used during the winter.
Breathe Through It
Sometimes, all it takes to stay warm is doing a bit of mental work. Reframing your mindset can help distract you from feeling cold. Breathing into your hands and visualizing warmth is a simple-but-effective technique. If you want to try something new, Taoist tradition teaches how to keep the body warm naturally through a technique called “vase breathing”. This technique involves holding your breath and contracting abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to create a pot-like vase shape and imagining you are breathing in warm energy. There are even studies showing that it helps!
Having a glass of wine or a hot toddy definitely helps you feel warmer, but that doesn’t mean it is actually helping your body warm up. The warmth you feel from alcohol is caused by causing your blood vessels to dilate under your skin. This brings the blood to your skin’s surface, as you’ve probably noticed before with the flush you get when drinking. The flush actually prevents your body from truly getting warm and lowers your core body temperature – which heightens your risk of hypothermia. Drinking for that warm feeling isn’t necessarily bad, but be aware of what is real vs. perceived warmth.
This season, try these natural ways to stay warm in winter so you can stay healthy and comfortable as the cold settles in. Keeping warm also helps your body stay strong to get through the winter. Put on your scarves, grab a warm mug of tea, and eat a bowl of stew, and stay warm!