can help you enjoy toasty hands no matter the temperature.
In early February 2014, the Chicagoist reported that this winter has been the coldest winter in Chicago in 30 years, with an average temperature of 19 degrees since December 1, 2013.
In January 2014, CNN reported that this year’s “polar vortex” is the coldest in 20 years in many areas. Weather.com reported that in January, a few major cities, including Atlanta and Indianapolis, recorded their lowest temperatures since the mid-1990s. Monday, January 6, 2014, ranked as the 40th-coldest day on record since 1900 for the continental U.S., with an average of 17.9 degrees for the lower 48 states.
With all this cold, your hands are likely to be the first part of the body to suffer. Try these natural solutions to warm them up—fast!
- Improve your circulation: Cold hands may signal slow or inefficient circulation. Try 600 mg daily of hawthorn (or 160 mg three times a day). It has a reputation for improving circulation and blood flow to the extremities, and is thought to act directly on the heart to increase force of heartbeats and relax the arteries around the heart, while widening those close to the surface of the skin. The University of Maryland Medical Centers states that both animal and human studies have suggested that hawthorn increases coronary blood flow, improves circulation, and lowers blood pressure. Check with your doctor if you are already taking blood pressure medication, however, as hawthorn may enhance the activity of the drug. Ginkgo biloba is another option (120-160 mg of standardized extract three times a day).
- Drink more water: If your body is well hydrated, your metabolism naturally works more efficiently, which warms you up. We often forget to drink in the winter, so try making sure you’re getting enough water every hour.
- Wear a hat: Your head is one of the primary areas where you lose heat. If you go out with a coat and gloves on, but a bare head, you’re likely to experience cold hands. Wear a hat to stay warmer overall.
- Relax: Tension creates cold hands. Your body tenses up, limiting blood flow to your fingers. Try a yoga pose or two, go on a short walk to relax your muscles, or engage in regular meditation.
- Breathe: Did you know that people with cold hands tend to be shallow breathers? The more deeply you breathe, the more oxygen you bring into your system, which then goes from the lungs to the bloodstream to transfer heat throughout the body. Learn to breathe deeper. It will also help you relax.
- Eat warming foods: These not only warm you up, but can help boost your immune system and prevent winter chills. Try adding fresh ginger and garlic—even cayenne if you can—to your recipes. Other warming foods include mustard greens, nuts, oats, parsnips, peppers, quinoa, scallions, wasabi, chives, honey, kumquat, dates and other dried fruits, onions, papaya, wild rice, and spices like anise, basil, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, parsley, and rosemary.
- Avoid caffeine: It restricts blood vessels, so if you’re cold, try an herbal tea rather than coffee. Avoid caffeinated beverages when you’re out in the winter weather.
- Keep your neck and wrists covered: Wearing short gloves? That could be the problem. Primary blood vessels come close to the surface of the skin in the neck and wrists, which makes them more susceptible to cold. Keep these areas protected, and your hands will naturally feel warmer.
- Avoid tight clothing: Tight jeans or other tight pieces of clothing can restrict blood flow to the extremities. If you’re feeling cold, wear looser clothing.
- Swing your arms: If all these methods haven’t worked and you’re stuck outside with cold fingers, try swinging your arms around and around about 30-50 times. The centripetal force you create pushes the blood flow to your fingers. If your fingers are numb before you start, do 20 swings, wait a bit, then do 20 more.
Do you have other methods of warming up? Please share them!