25 ways to stay warm this winter that will not break the bank

By Kristen Rogers, CNN

While winter weather is whipping across the United States, it can be a challenge to stay warm if you can not afford or cut down on indoor heating.

Staying warm is necessary “for a number of health reasons” in addition to comfort, said Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. For people with arthritis, stiffness “occurs in your back and neck and sore joints more in colder weather.… People who have metabolic conditions can be sensitive to the weather, such as diabetes and heart disease. The colder you are, the more stress you strain your heart. ”

ONE a little knowledgeable based on our warm-blooded bodies, food, appliances, furniture, outdoor items and more can go a long way. Here are 25 ways to stay warm this winter – with or without indoor heat – that will not break the bank.

How to warm your body

1. Heat with hand warmers purchased in the store can microwave heating pads, hot water bottles or heated blankets. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and concentrating on your torso is key, said John Eric Smith, an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Mississippi State University. “If you heat the core, you can warm your hands and feet. It’s harder to warm the core by warming your hands and feet.”

Be careful not to burn yourself, Benjamin said. “They are very effective on a knee or a shoulder or on the back of the neck.… You rarely put it directly on your skin. You usually wrap it in something, maybe a thin towel.”

2. Move your body. Physical activities like indoor exercise or dancing can help you warm up, but don’t get to the point where you sweat, Smith said. “We sweat to lose heat, and the sweat will make us colder.”

Think twice about taking a hot shower or bath. “While a hot bath or shower will feel good in an instant,” Smith said, “you will be cold when you come out and your wet skin loses heat faster.”

4. Hug. Snuggles can really keep you warm. “We each produce heat through our metabolic processes. We lose our heat to the environment when we maintain body temperature,” Smith said via email. “Increased skin contact reduces the chances of heat being lost to the environment around us. If two people are under a blanket both their heat loss together can raise the temperature under the rug faster than both could do independently. “

5. Change how you perceive cold. Some people have trained their minds to perceive coldness as an objective, acceptable sensation rather than something terrible to control. That best ways to adapt include wearing clothes in layers and then removing it or gradually lowering the thermostat and putting on a sweater, Benjamin said.

Warmth that is comforting

6. Enjoy hot drinks and food, and use the oven and stove to cook them. Because foods high in fat and protein are slowly metabolized by the body, they can make you feel hotter, Smith said. “Consider hearty soups with beans and meat.” Slow cooking can help generate heat throughout the day.

Drinking hot drinks “definitely helps take the cold off,” Benjamin said. Leaving the stove or stove on is “a bad idea because it burns fuel,” Benjamin said, “but more importantly, people fall asleep, they forget and leave the stove on. Sometimes things on the stove can burn. So like any tool you need to use it for the purpose for which it was designed. “

“It only has to go bad once to be life-changing,” Smith said. If you do not have children or pets when you have finished cooking and turn off the oven, it does not hurt to leave the oven door open to let residual heat escape.

How to dress for the cold

7. Lay layers on the clothes. “Layering is critical,” Smith said. “Even thin layers folded together to increase one’s ability to keep warm… focus on keeping the torso warm. Often an extra shirt or vest can warm your hands and feet more than an extra pair of socks or gloves. ” Cheap pairs of tights or long underpants can be worn under clothing. However, be sure that layering does not make your clothes tight, he added, as it could reduce blood flow and thus your body’s ability to get warm blood to these areas. Wearing a hat can also keep the heat inside.

8. Wear thick socks and slippers. Fuzzy socks, slippers or a pair of shoes you reserve to wear around the house can add extra comfort.

9. Lay the blankets on. “The more layers you put on, the better it helps to catch the air between you,” said your sheets and your blankets, Benjamin said. Since you lose a lot of heat from your head while under blankets, he added, wearing a cap can also help.

10. Embrace less breathable clothing and bedding. Breathable bedding (such as the cotton-based variant) is often recommended in the summer, but bedding with other materials and higher thread count may be better for the winter, as higher thread count has more weaving per. square inch.

Optimize your home and your appliances

11. Work with the weather. Open your curtains or blinds to let the sun in during the day, or when it is warmer outside than inside your home.

12. Seal your windows and doors. Even if your windows and doors are completely closed and locked, drafts can seep in through small cracks. You can use caulk or shrink film to seal these cracks. By placing cheap, transparent shower curtains over windows, you can keep the sun inside but the cold draft outside. For the bottom of doors, pull stops are “very effective,” Benjamin said.

13. Close available spaces. By closing the doors to spaces that no one uses, you can create additional barriers between yourself and the cold outdoors. This can also help prevent heat loss from the room you are in.

14. Turn your ceiling fan over. If possible, send your ceiling fan clockwise so that it sends the hot air down.

15. Sit near indoor heaters. You can safely use portable heaters if they are space heaters that have automatic shut-offs and can be plugged into an electrical outlet instead of an extension cord. Since space heaters are a common cause of fires, they should be at least 3 feet away from curtains, bedding or furniture. To prevent high levels of carbon monoxide – which can cause potentially fatal poisoning – make sure you have a carbon monoxide monitor installed and that you do not “use any type of outdoor gas heater or anything that is not electric,” Benjamin said.

16. Move anything that blocks heating valves or radiators. The heat will circulate better throughout your home that way.

17. Spend time and sleep on the upper floors of the house. The heat is rising, so it may be more comfortable to move your work, sleeping and living space upwards.

18. After showering, do not run the bathroom fan or close the door. Unless your bathroom is prone to grow moisture-induced mold, the hot steam from the shower can make the nearby air less dry and cool for a short period of time.

19. Buy magnetic ventilation covers from home improvement stores. Used to cover ventilation openings, they can be inexpensive and help force the heat to only come out of ventilation openings in the occupied spaces.

20. Lay rugs or rugs. These can be hotter to the touch than just floors.

21. Insulate your ceiling. If you can afford it, padding your ceiling with insulation from hardware stores can help hold on to some of the heat you normally lose through the ceiling as the heat rises.

22. Examine what your residential area has to offer. In some places, heating centers set up for safety may be operating during the pandemic.

Cozy close to the elements

23. Light a fire. If your fireplace runs on wood instead of gas, a fire is another way to keep a room warm and enjoy a cozy evening. “Make sure your flue is properly opened and clean to ensure that the smoke does not return to the home but goes properly up into the flue,” Benjamin said. “Once the fire is extinguished, of course, close the hood, because it’s like having an open window.”

24. Keep warm and enjoy s’mores. If your state, city, county or neighborhood allows it, you must have a (moderate size) backyard bonfire to keep warm for a while.

25. Do not light candles. Candles can give off a small amount of heat, but it can be dangerous to use them as a heat source. “People want to light candles and go to bed and they fall over,” Benjamin said. “The cat comes in and kicks it over and starts a fire.”

With these tips in mind and everyone else you find, “by and large, think about how to stay warm in the winter,” he added. “If that sounds like a bad idea, it probably is. Look it up and check it out before you do.”

This story has been updated to reflect the latest weather forecasts.

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