The winter weather can leave you feeling achy, dry and cold to the bone, no matter how many woolly jumpers you put on. There are many other ways however to warm up naturally in the winter months. Read on to find out how.
As hard as it can be to get up from the comfort of your bed when its freezing cold outside, daily exercise is an excellent way to keep warm in the winter months. Cardiovascular exercise in particular boosts blood circulation to the heart, generating an increased amount of internal heat and a sweat on the skin as it does.
Some tips for exercising in the winter months include:
- Increased strength training, which can be safely carried out in the warmth of the indoors of your home or local gym.
- Make sure to warm up properly before starting your workout to ensure adequate blood circulation around the body. Cold weather can inhibit blood flow to the muscles, which in turn may cause cramping if you have not warmed up the muscles sufficiently before exercise.
- Cold weather can be dehydrating, so make sure you keep your fluids up when exercising by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your session.
- Wear appropriate winter exercise gear when exercising outside to ensure you don’t catch a bad case of the chills.
- If getting up in the dark is too much to ask in the winter months, choose an alternative time of day that suits your body clock better.
- Try your hand at some winter sports, such as skiing, ice hockey, ice skating or snowboarding.
Otherwise known as heat-producing foods, Thermogenic foods have the ability to warm the body by assisting it to create an increased amount of internal heat. Some of these foods include:
- Complex carbohydrates, which warm the body more quickly due their quick digestion.
- Winter fruits and vegetables that keep the body warm with their high anti-oxidant, mineral and vitamin content. Some of these include oranges, pomegranates, strawberries, onions, beets, broccoli, cabbage, pumpkin, sweet potato and beans. It is also recommended to eat them occasionally raw, as the body produces more internal heat in digesting raw foods.
- Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat that are rich in phytoochemicals, fibre and other nutrients that ensure increased body warmth.
- Seeds and nuts, whose high omega 3 content also contributes to keeping one warm.
- Hot teas and soups that warm the body quickly.
- Foods loaded with Chili and Tabasco offer a short-term, rapid heat blast to the body, but they lose their effect as quickly as the give it.
Foods that hamper the body’s immune system, cause dehydration and dampen digestion should be avoided in the winter months. This is largely because they cause the body to concentrate on detoxifying rather than creating an increased amount of heat. Foods that should be avoided when possible include alcohol, coffee, refined sugars and fried foods.
Herbs & Spices That Help Keep You Warm
There are many herbs that may be added to your cooking, drunk as a tea, taken in a capsule or tincture form. Some of these include:
- Black pepper
Keep Your Kidneys Warm
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the kidneys hold the life force (chi) of the human body. They are located just under the ribcage, right in the small of the back. TCM relates the kidneys to the winter element, and holds them responsible for keeping the body warm throughout the winter months. Keep the kidneys warm and functioning at an optimum level by making sure your clothes are all tucked in when outside (preventing an underlying draught), and by making sure your middle is well covered at all times.