Even though it’s still technically fall, winter has landed in Vancouver – sometimes no matter how much we layer up, it still feels cold (personally I think I’m only ever warm in July and August and the first 2 weeks of September). Want a simple solution? MOVE! That’s right you heard me, moving your body is the best way to warm up and stay warm!
Did you know that your muscles are very good at “wasting energy” as heat? If you’re always cold like me, this is fabulous news. There are only so many cups of hot tea or water that I can drink in a day, without people noticing that I’m off to the bathroom every hour. When you move your body and use muscular contractions to generate heat, it works from the “inside out” and you tend to stay warmer for longer than if you hold on to a hand warmer, or stand in front of a portable heater (that is if it doesn’t toast your shins off first).
So yes, while wearing thermal long johns or being wrapped in a sleeping bag are potential solutions, here are 5 movements that you can do (wherever you are, extension cord not required), to get your blood flowing and warm from your nose to your toes!
Top 5 movements to stay warm this winter
1. Isometric contraction of your muscles
Just squeeze your muscles and hold the tension for 20 to 30 seconds, just remember to breathe during the contraction and repeat as necessary. Think of a bodybuilder doing a chest flex, or Lou Ferrigno playing the Hulk. The mental image works well and makes me laugh so double whammy! Make grunting sounds for bonus points.
2. Arm sprints
Stuck at a desk or moving around is inconvenient? Mimic the arm motions of a sprinter while tightly contracting the muscles of your chest and back. I like to pretend I’m a T-Rex trying to box in molasses, but that’s just me. If you have more space and as you become warmer, increase the range of motion – swing your arms in a controlled fashion, bent at the elbows, quickly back and forth.
3. Spot Jog
Jog on the spot, make sure your knees are coming up nice and high and that your abs are tight! The more things you contract, the warmer you’ll be. Just be careful if you try this one outside and the ground conditions are slippery.
4. Jumping Jacks
We all know how to do this one! I think.
Again, be aware of your footwear and ground conditions if you’re outside and it’s icy.
5. Spot Lunges
This works surprisingly well because of the fact that you’re using half of your entire body to generate the movement (aka heat) and your legs are such large muscles. Start off with smaller lunge movements, especially if you’re really cold, and as you literally warm up, increase the range of motion by stepping further out in a longer stance, or bringing your knee closer to the floor. Just don’t get so enthusiastic that you smash your kneecap into the ground.
You can do these movements practically anywhere, any time. You’ll burn calories (sadly, shivering isn’t as effective at using up those peppermint mochas as burpees), get warm and look ridiculously cool…er hot…or…well, it’s win-win.