There’s no need to try to understand the struggle of trying to stay warm in a cold environment for those who live in one, but some of the travel and adrenaline junkies might be about to experience the extreme temperatures of a destination you’ve decided to visit: maybe for a skiing trip? If you’re from the more temperate regions of the globe, the extreme cold can come as a shock! No matter, what better can you be in a new environment than well versed and prepared with some secret hacks that we are going to share with you to beat that icy chill?
1. Add Vicks to the mix
Hack number one is no joke. We all have gone through the Vicks VapoRub experience as kids, whether we had a chest cold, or just a blocked nose. Well, guess what: a bottle of Vicks can be quite the decongestant to stay warm during a cold winter day or night in your hometown, or on a holiday.
Kosha founder Yuktie Jhangiani recalls her experience on the challenging ‘Chadar’ trek high up in Ladakh. “The tour guide told us before starting the trek that this would be more mentally challenging compared to the physical aspects. Temperatures during the day range from 5°C to -10°C …At night it would drop down to minus 45°C!”. This trek involves crossing the Zanskar river, which is frozen. During the nights, the cold was getting unbearable. “Our tour guide encouraged me to apply Vicks… I was completely against the idea because I cannot tolerate the burning sensations that follow topical application. He assured me that it would be the best decision I made, and believe it or not, I didn’t feel the burn due to the extreme cold….It helped me feel warm instead! You can apply it to the chest or the soles of the feet..basically where you lose the most heat in your body.” So next time you are on a trek or in extremely cold weather, make sure to have some Vicks vaporub, Iodex, or Tiger Balm to keep you warm. The use of balm has some great advantages for winter:
- Increases blood flow to the surface of the skin
- Distracts the body from pain and stiffness in certain areas
- Balms with camphor and menthol content stimulate blood flow to the muscles
- Reduces inflammation
2. Hot water bottle for the win
That cold seeping in between your sheets? Use a hot water bottle! Simply place the bottle in between your sheets ten to fifteen minutes before you want to hit the hay. It will warm up your bed, and you won’t have to wait for your body temperature to give you the go for a warm night’s sleep.
3. Bring in the nostalgia, It actually warms you up inside!
Believe it or not, studies have shown that when you think of positive memories that bring joy from the past, it raises your body temperature! Kick back with friends or family around a nice warm fire, talk about good memories of the past, or browse through old photos to bring in some natural warmth.
4. Turn that fire upside down
Instead of the conventional paper on the bottom to get the wood-burning for a fire, try this hack for a more smokeless, warmer fire. Stack the paper on top of the wood. Make sure the wood is stacked big to small.
5. Crank up the bake
Winter is the perfect time to bake anything – Preferably a roast chicken or some meat that will slow cook. The heat from the oven will definitely add some degrees to kill the freeze!
@duhhhitsdrew for baking pictures!
6. Don’t focus only on your hands and feet, make sure your ears are covered and neat!
It has been scientifically proven that keeping your head, and more importantly your ears warm, is crucial to retaining warmth in our bodies. Keep a warm skull cap on (preferably wool) that will keep your ears warm and that will translate to the rest of your body. A woollen cap that is worn close to the ears, lends protection from the wind besides keeping your head warm.
If you want to manifest more heat to stay warm, indulge yourself in some more eating choices during colder seasons. They don’t have to be unhealthy eating habits per se:
A healthy steaming bowl of soup, some ginger will provide more heat to burn calories, thus revving up your body temperature and keeping you warmer. Sesame or Til Laddoos, Dates and Besan Laddoos are known as heat-generating foods and common winter foods.
8. Work on your immunity
It is crucial to have a strong immune system to be able to withstand cold and avoid developing symptoms like a cold, cough or other issues that can be due to weaker immunity. It’s no mystery that exercises revs up the metabolism, and warms up the body: In fact, this works even better when you exercise in cold weather. It’s a process called ‘Thermogenesis’, which is basically the process of warming your body, and in the cold, this process is doubled. Take a jog, do some pushups, or lift some weights to get that fire in your body going! Also, keep a very clean diet. Try to incorporate more organic vegetables and fruits in your diet. Some examples of immunity-boosting foods are Til seeds, Kalonji and Ginger. Another great way to keep the immunity up is…Yes my friends, the Indian and proven to give results practice of Yoga.
Mr Rayomand Sirvala, A certified Yoga instructor and health coach, stresses on the importance of yoga in daily fitness and health. “Yoga is a tool that balances out your energies and harmonizes the mind, body and soul. It helps you dive into your innermost recesses.” He gives us three ‘Pranayama’ (breathing techniques), that can help us maintain warmth in our bodies to fight the cold:
- Surya Bhedana –Sit in a comfortable asana and make Mrigi Mudra. For Surya-Bhedana block your left nostril and inhale through your right. Then close the right and exhale through the left. Continue in this manner, inhale right, exhale left, for 1 to 3 minutes.
- Kapalbhati- Sit cross-legged on the floor. Inhale deeply and calmly with both nostrils your lungs are filled with air. Exhale. Pull in your stomach such that you bring your navel as close as possible to your spine. Repeat and Meditate.
- Bhastrika – Sit in a steady, comfortable posture with the spine straight. Take a few deep, even breaths, letting the abdomen expand as you inhale. When you’re ready to begin, exhale by contracting the abdominal muscles quickly and forcefully and follow it with a quick diaphragmatic inhalation, letting the abdominal muscles relax completely.
9. Wear correct layers
Layering has a science to it. Just throwing on as many layers as you can not produce the desired effect! For more information on how to layer your winter wear for maximum benefit, please visit our journal to learn more about layering and our effective winter layering system.
10. Stay hydrated
Backed by science, water retains heat in your body, so don’t compromise on your fluids. The best hydration comes from our natural resource water, but if you are in a situation where you have less water, you can always pre-stock an electrolyte or ion supply drink. Drink at least two to three litres of water daily. Staying hydrated avoids acute mountain sickness on the trails.
These hacks are all tried and tested. Give them a try on your next winter outdoor adventure and better the experience!