Winter is upon us, and along with the chilly wind, falling snow and ice storms comes slower blood circulation and super cold feet and hands. Luckily for your frozen limbs, there are several simple ways to get your blood pumping so you keep your hands and feet warm — without having to turn on the heat. Things like eating certain spices, drinking more water and following special breathing techniques can help warm up hands and feet in cold weather. Read on for the full list of how to warm your extremeties without a heater and start feeling cozy this winter.
Spice Up Your Life
There’s a reason holiday and winter foods often contain spices. Things like cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cayenne aren’t just warm on the palette; these spices help activate the digestion system, which helps to warm your body and get your blood flowing. Meanwhile, you'll also want to slightly increase your salt intake, as not getting enough of the mineral can lead to cold hands and feet. Beleive it or not, salt naturally increase your body temperature, so be sure you’re getting enough sodium.
The thought of piercing the skin with several tiny needles may leave some people feeling cold, but acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help increase blood circulation. A handful of sessions spaced about a week apart can do wonders for the body — warmer hands and feet being one of the benefits.
Pump Some Iron
No, we don’t mean weight lifting. We mean the nutrient that helps your body produce oxygen-carrying red blood cells. An iron deficiency can leave your hands and feet feeling cold, so have your doctor check to make sure you’re getting enough. If not, there are several supplements on the market as well as foods you can eat to increase your body’s iron supply. Iron-rich foods include red meat, seafood, beans, dark leafy greens and dried fruit.
Get a Hot Lover
Nothing gets your blood pumping faster than a new cutie, so find a special someone to snuggle up with. Already found your Mr. or Mrs. Perfect? Try giving each other massages, which naturally improve circulation and warm the body. Need some tips on how to give a mind blowing, toe-curling foot rub? Check out this article.
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water helps keep your circulation in good shape. But there are other drinks that can help keep your hands and feet warm: coffee, tea and cocoa can heat you up, as can adult winter beverages like hot toddies and mulled wine.
*Editor's Note: Caffeine has been linked to restricted blood vessels and decreased circulation, so be sure to choose non-caffeinated beverages!
Catch a Wave
Water can conduct heat up to 25 times faster than air, so find a way to get your hands and feet submerged. This could be taking a bath, jumping in a hot tub, indulging in a warm foot soak or simply running warm water over your cold hands and feet for a few minutes.
Speaking of water, moisturized air feels warmer than dry air, so try putting a humidifier in your home or leaving the bathroom door open when you and family members are showering.
Some experts believe that reducing the amount of air you take in during each breath can warm your extremities. The technique is called Buteyko and it involves sitting straight and taking small breaths that you very slowly exhale while trying to relax your muscles (especially those in your chest). Just note: The Buteyko breathing method isn’t recommended for pregnant women or anyone with heart disease, hypertension, migraine headaches or a history of panic attacks.
Keep Foolin’ Yourself
Sometimes keeping warm is as simple as tricking yourself into thinking it’s not cold. Ways to do this include surrounding yourself with warm colors and textures, imagining things like sunny beaches and refusing to accept that it’s remotely chilly.
When To See A Doctor
The above tips and tricks to keep your feets and hands warm are effective if cold weather is to blame for your chilly extremities, but there are many underlying causes for cold hands and feet, as well. Conditions such as Raynaud’s Phenomenon, diabetes, hypothyroidism, hormone imbalances and peripheral neuropathy diseases can lead to cool extremities. Speak with your doctor if you think any of these could be to blame for your shivers and be sure to check out our article Always Got Cold Feet? Here Are Some Common Reasons Why.