The natural way to not feel the cold
How to not feel the cold in winter
While you wouldn't know it if you're in Brisbane, we are actually in the middle of winter. To spare a thought for our southerly neighbours, here are some natural ways to stay warm in winter.
We've all been there. We're out on the street all rugged up with our hat, scarf and gloves, and someone casually strolls past us wearing nothing but their gym gear. Aren't they cold??? This one's obvious, but when we exercise, we warm up. When your muscles contract, they're doing lots of work and doing this work, they need to unlock stored energy in your cells. The by-products of this process are water, carbon dioxide, and heat. This is why you shiver and shake if you're freezing, and why your teeth chatter. Your body forces you to contract your muscles to generate heat to stay warm.
Not only that, but exercise gets your heart rate up, and when this happens, you're pumping more blood around your body. As well as carrying oxygen and nutrients, your blood also transports heat, which is why you look red when hot, and pale when cold.
Spice it up a little!
There are plenty of foods and herbal medicines that help you to keep warm. Spices don't just add flavor and heat your mouth. They also help to stimulate your circulation and get the blood pumping around all of your body. (Incidentally, this increased blood flow in your gut will help you to digest and absorb your nutrients better). The strongest is chilli, but if you're after something a bit more gentle, consider adding ginger or cinnamon to your food. Ginger tea (especially if taken with lemon) is a great winter warming drink. Don't wait until you've got a cold to take it; drink it right through the winter to stay warm and fend off bugs. From weakest to most substantial, you can use a ginger teabag, ground ginger, and freshly grated ginger. And who doesn't like cinnamon on their porridge in the morning? P.S. Cinnamon toast and cinnamon buns and scrolls don't count! They contain so much sugar you're more likely to get sick.
Take up yoga
The key here is to make your yoga practice regularly. Going once a week is better than nothing, but several times a week, or a daily practice, works wonders. True, but people that have a regular yoga practice don't feel the cold as much. Who knows why? There are several possible reasons, from the scientific to the esoteric. Maybe the combined stretching and strengthening of your muscles assist in blood flow. Perhaps the increased oxygenation to your cells enables them to work more efficiently. Maybe having more flexible joints aids in the circulation of body fluid. Maybe the toning action on your heart makes it a more efficient pump. Perhaps the gentle massaging of your internal organs reduces congestion of blood. Maybe it's the increased flow of 'prana' or 'chi'!
Why do I feel cold all the time?
What does it mean if you feel cold all the time? What if you feel cold even in summer? The most likely reason for this is having low thyroid function, which might also be called having a slow metabolism.
Your thyroid gland, located in your neck (where your 'Adams Apple' is) determines the rate at which you 'burn' fuel for energy. And just as adding more fuel to fire increases its heat, the faster you burn your fat and sugar stores, the more heat you will generate. So, if your thyroid gland is not functioning that well, not only will you find it harder to lose weight; you are also more likely to feel cold quickly.
Some of the other symptoms of having low thyroid function include constipation, long slow, heavy periods and a longer menstrual cycle, skin and hair changes, feeling low on energy, and feeling depressed. So if you feel cold, tired, and depressed, even in summer, it could be your thyroid. Thyroid disorders are surprisingly common, and a simple blood test will tell you if this is the case.
Remember though; it might not be your thyroid gland. It could just be that you need to move around more. If you're sitting all day (drive to work, sit at a desk, drive home...) and not getting enough physical activity, not only are you not generating as much heat through movement, but your sedentary lifestyle causes your thyroid gland to slow down, thus perpetuating the cycle! And once you're thyroid has slowed down, you'll feel more tired and lethargic and are less likely to exercise. It is a vicious circle. Like many aspects of health, it gets easier to get better and better, but also gets more comfortable to get worse and worse! So, if you do have a sedentary life, there are therefore at least two reasons why you are more likely to put on weight (and feel the cold quickly).
The reverse is also true. Physical activity (i.e. exercise) not only warms you up as you do it. It also increases your metabolism even when you're not exercising. That's right! Exercise frequently, and your metabolism will be faster when you're resting (sitting on the couch watching TV) than it would be if you didn't do that regular exercise. Pretty good, huh?
Let movement by thy medicine!
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