The “Hands & Feet” Early Warning System

Cold hands?

If it’s cold out, you might dress warmly — but just how warmly is warmly enough? You might feel just fine as you walk out the door, but then you start freezing later on.

What you need is an early warning system that tells you you’re going to feel cold in just a few minutes. And you have one — cold hands!

If it’s cold, your body will pull heat from your extremities away into your all-important core. This means your hand and feet will get cold first, and when that is used up, then your core will get cold (which is when you really feel it).

So if you have cold hands, wear extra clothing even though it doesn’t seem like you need it. That will help keep both your hands and core warm.

Now putting on gloves when your hands are cold is a fine idea, but look at the big picture — you have to keep your overall self warm. Heat circulates around the body, and also putting on a jacket when your hands are cold is smart.

If you know it’s really cold out, bundle up about 10 minutes before you go out. If you start to get just a little bit too warm when you’re ready to walk out that door, you’ve gotten it right. I call this “stoking” — building up your body’s heat in advance so the extra is there when you need it.

Warm, sweaty feet?

The opposite is when your feet get warm and sweaty. This means in a few minutes your core will get too warm, which is when you’ll feel uncomfortably hot. The solution is less clothing; perhaps stripping down to your undies before you go out, so when you put them back on and walk out that door, you’re cooled off a bit. (I live alone so for me this doesn’t matter.)

Another solution is cold drinks. Sip them so you don’t get brain freeze. Or eat ice cubes. (I was actually doing this once at work when my boss comes up to me and asks me a question. Was he surprised when I spit out ice cubes onto my desk!)

Remember, it’s what you do before you actually need it that counts.

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