How to stay warm all winter long

Staying warm

We’ve been warned that this year’s winter may be a doozy. According to the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac, winter 2017 is going to be “cold, if not downright frigid” nearly from coast-to-coast.

With that foreboding weather forecast in mind, here are six tips to keep the cold at bay until spring arrives—none of which involve touching your thermostat.

1. Layer properly

The only thing worse than being cold is being cold and wet. Too many layers can result in overheating and sweating, which is as bad at not layering at all. Your layers should consist of three key components:

  • A base. Start out with some good old long underwear, preferably in a thin water-wicking fabric. Steer clear of cotton, which retains moisture and will leave you feeling chilled.
  • An insulating layer, such as a fleece or a sweater.
  • A protective layer. This should be both waterproof and breathable, to cut the wind and keep out the damp.

2. Keep your tootsies warm

Much like the rest of your body, when it comes to keeping your feet warm, layering is an art. The insoles and soles of your boots should keep your feet warm enough, but you can double-up on socks if necessary. Again, choose sweat-wicking fabrics. Just be careful not to overdo it—without enough insulating space in your boots, you’ll have reduced circulation, which ultimately leads to cold feet.

3. Don’t wait to pee

Sometimes, being bundled up can make you feel a bit like the kid in Robert Munch’s book “I Have to Go.” Getting undressed to go to the loo can feel like more effort than it’s worth—and it’s another small injustice that being cold actually makes you have to go more frequently. However, if you’re in the outdoors, taking that moment to relieve yourself could have big payoff. Your body is using valuable energy to keep your urine warm—energy that could be better allocated to keeping your fingers and toes toasty.

4. Cover your extremities

The notion that you lose most of your body heat through your head is—sorry, mom—an old wives’ tale. According to one study, the most that a person loses through their head is about 10 per cent of their body heat. However, any exposed body parts are like a crack under your door—you’ll lose heat through them. So cover-up fully, including donning a toque, scarf and mittens.

5. Warm yourself, not the room.

Rather than cranking up the heat, boost your body temperature by making sure you’re dressed appropriately, even indoors. (Yes, this may include wearing a toque in the house.) And don’t forget to layer your bed; for maximum warmth, start with flannel sheets, followed by a duvet and topped with your thinnest blankets.

6. Don’t skip breakfast.

When faced with a chilly morning, it can be tempting to forgo breakfast in favour a few extra moments in bed. However, eating regular meals will help your body to stay warmer longer. Consuming calories is like adding fuel to a fire; they give your body enough energy to deal with cooler temperatures.