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How To Stay Warm On Cold Days

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Staying cozy indoors is not always an option. But with these tips, you can embrace the natural beauty and social fun of the season.

Ayurveda's Unique Top Tips for Staying Warm

  • Self oil massage with sesame oil keeps the body warm by preventing evaporation from the surface of the skin.
  • Get outside - Exposure to the cold for more than 30 minutes convinces your body to build internal protecting that keeps you warmer throughout the season. Every autumn my family takes walks on cold days to stimulate this preparation.
  • Warm from the inside out with warming, circulation-boosting foods or herbs. Moderate dose so you don't break a sweat.
  • Exercise - Exercise improves circulation and metabolism, which keeps you warmer even when you're not exercising.
  • Particularly, keep your core warm and protected from the wind by wearing layers, thermals and warm coats.

Fix Cold Feet by Warming Up Your Core

Some people get cold feet even with two pairs of socks. When you're cold, your body constricts blood vessels and pulls blood into your core to protect its vital organs. Even socks can't coax the blood out of hibernation, and cold foods and drinks certainly won't help. The solution to cold feet is warming your core by putting on a sweater.

Effect of Cold on Fluids and Tissues

Cold restricts all fluid motion in your body, including your digestive juices and blood circulation. This makes blood stagnant and causes toxins to build.

Cold body temperature depresses the heart rate as well - by 10 beats per minute for every one degree drop in temperature. This stagnation in the circulatory system depresses the immune system and leaves you vulnerable to respiratory infection.

When cold, circulation is especially poor close to the surface of the skin. This causes the skin to look dull and lusterless. Contact with very cold temperatures, such as when drinking water with ice cubes or walking outside on a freezing cold day, constricts blood flow even to the point of numbness. This is why your mouth might feel numb after a popsicle or icy smoothie. Cold stiffens muscles and stimulates the nervous system.

Seasonal Transition - Early Autumn

Cold first attacks the body in early autumn. The body's defenses against cold are at its weakest during this transitional period. After a summer of sunshine and warm weather, your body is unprepared for the cold seasonal shift that characterizes the fall. That's why, in Ayurveda, we say that September is the coldest month of the year. Not because it is the coldest temperature-wise, but because your body isn't ready for the sharp change in weather. Your body is especially vulnerable during autumn, so it's important to prepare yourself for the chill.

The cold weather in autumn stimulates fat storage and a protective layer of fat in the skin to help you keep nice and warm. This creates a period of of strong appetite and larger portions (hyperphagia) characteristic of a Thanksgiving meal!

Tips for Staying Warm

Take a preventative approach. Wrap up before you get cold! The day can start out warm and sunny, without a hint of an afternoon plunge in temperatures that leaves you wishing you had a sweater. Be extra careful on days you notice the sky is grey and wind is strong.
  • Keep your wrists, ankles, and neck warm, as these are sneaky places for cold to enter your body.
  • Protect yourself on windy days by carrying a scarf, wearing warm socks, and layering up.
  • Choose function over fashion when heading out. Keep spare socks, shoes, sweaters in the car in case you get wet or need an extra layer.
  • The lower back should also be kept warm.
If you react to cold weather with tight muscles, stiffness, or constipation, be sure to protect yourself to avoid uncomfortable symptoms.

Dress in Layers

Those who grew up in northern climates know to dress in layers. Layers offer more protection against the cold than a big fluffy jacket. Bring extra layers with you and put them on early - don't wait until you are freezing cold to bundle up. If you feel a chill or begin to shiver, that means cold has already invaded your body. It's time to put on a warm sweater and have a hot cup of ginger tea to warm yourself back up.

Avoid a Sweat

Warm, however, is different than hot. Things that are too hot like excessive use of spices or saunas can overheat your body and make you sweat. If you break a sweat in the fall, it could cause a chill. So what is the sign your body is at a perfect temperature? You should be warm enough to feel warm in the armpits, and perhaps even break a *very slight* sweat in the armpits, but sweating nowhere else.

Summary

Incorporate warming things like cozy sweaters, ginger tea, and moderate use of turmeric but don't go overboard. Hearty and warming ingredients like tahini, pork, red meat, and rye will all warm your body without causing you to break a sweat, helping you feel comfortable and toasty on chilly fall days. To dispel a deep cold, these tips for the perfect hot bath are the best remedy - but protect your body from a chill immediately when you leave the bath.

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About John Joseph Immel

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.

John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 7 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.

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Questions, Comments & Impressions of 'how to stay warm on cold days'?

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I have tried putting a sweater on for my cold feet and it really works! Heating up my core seems to be the answer! Thanks!
- Karen Zamudio, St george , UT , 03-10-23 (Reply)

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