England’s Department of Health recently published a map, detailing the country’s coldest homes. Liverpool topped the list, with 28.8 percent of its houses lacking central heating. The publication, at first glance, seems a bit cruel – an act that simply points out the fact that you are doomed to suffer through a frigid winter (after all, you can’t very well up and move because of a map), but it has a deeper purpose. Britain hopes, in alerting its citizens of their vulnerability, to inspire the people of England to take the steps necessary to stay warm through the winter, something we should all do for the sake of our health.
Wintertime brings with it dropping temperatures, whipping winds, freezing precipitation and seemingly never-ending cold. It also increases the risk of serious illness, particularly for the very young and the very old. And, I’m not just talking about hypothermia or frostbite. Heart and respiratory problems, depression, discomfort, colds and flu are all more common during the winter months. One of the best ways to fend off these ailments is to stay warm. However, it’s not as easy as you’d think. Poorly insulated homes, malfunctioning heaters, power outages and Mother Nature constantly defeat your toasty goals. Therefore, it’s important that you adopt small lifestyle habits that will keep you warm from the inside out. Here’s how:
• Dress warmly – several thin layers will trap the heat in your body, keeping you nice and insulated. When you’re outside, add a coat, hat, scarf and gloves.
• Keep moving – generate body heat naturally by staying active throughout the day. Although it’s tempting to wrap yourself in a blanket and huddle until heat arrives, it’s far more productive to engage in exercise or some type of activity that gets your blood pumping.
• Eat regularly – food provides warmth. There’s no question about that. Have nice, heated meals that will keep you satisfied and toasty all day long.
• Drink wisely – warm drinks are like warm meals: a good idea. However, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks cause you to lose rather than retain body heat. Select instead warm, sweet beverages.
Taking these steps won’t make up for a poorly heated home nor will it guarantee an illness-free winter. It will, however, improve your chances and make the frigid months a little less frigid.
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