Being outside in winter is amazing! The nature is beautiful and the freshness in the air makes you feel bright and alive. The only downside is that it can be quite cold sometimes. I am quickly suffering from very cold hands myself, so here are some tips for those of you who have the same problem.
Gloves and mittens
Let me start by stating the obvious. Proper gloves or mittens are essential to keep your hands warm. Just make sure that when it’s snowing or raining you are equipped with water-proof gloves. Soaking wet pieces of fabric around your hands are no fun at all. More in general, mittens tend to provide more warmth than gloves, but then gloves are more practical, so that choice is up to you. Personally, my Icelandic sheepskin mittens are my dearest hand warmers.
Have you tried these magical things? I just got new ones at the “Sinterklaas” present-evening celebration. They are perfect for when I will be in Norway. And for travelling by train to and from my parents, for instance. Basically, warming packs are soft, plastic pads filled with some chemical fluid and a metal chip. When you bend the chip, a reaction will take place in the fluid and the pad will heat up. A proper heating pack will stay warm for hours. If you buy a re-usable one, you can boil it in water after using to set the pack in starting condition again.
Protect your head
As you body functions as a whole, heat loss is also a general distributed thing. When your head is exposed, it will form a big leak for warmth. Your body reacts to that by preserving as much warmth as possible throughout your body. Because it can not stop blood from flowing to your head, it will choose to send less blood to your other extremities and so sending less blood to your hands. Long story short, keep your head tightly wrapped up in order for your hands to stay warm.
We all know that standing still will make you feel colder than running around. Exercising keeps your muscles working and with that it will keep you warm. So when outside, try to avoid standing still for too long. Just keep on walking or pace in circles when you have to wait for something. And if you really have to stay in one place for a moment, try to find the most sheltered spot around.
As I said, warmth is generated by working muscles. And those muscles need fuel. So make sure you keep your body well provided with enough food. If you have the choice, go out after eating a proper meal. And make sure you have some snacks with you, just in case.
Because my hands are so sensitive to cold that sometimes all of the above together is not even enough, I turned to rosemary salve. Giving your hands a daily massage with this salve will increase the blood flow and keep your hands warm. It is still no miracle cure, and it does in no way lessen the importance of the other tips, but it might help a bit.
But most important of all is that you keep looking after yourself and listen to your body. If temperatures are really low and your hands start to become very cold, just try to go inside as soon as possible. You don’t want to risk any real damage to your hands.
I hope these tips will help you keep your hands warm in winter, so that you can keep on exploring the beautiful outdoors!