6 Ways to Stay Warm Without Turning on the Heat

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Mother and son in a blanket fort
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Cranking up the heat, flannel sheets, dressing in layers — there are a number of traditional ways to stay warm in cold weather.

But for folks looking for more unusual methods, we’ve outlined some savvy, low-tech ways to ward off the cold this winter. Some of them might even save you a little cash.

1. Chill out — literally

Woman in winter coat
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Although it may seem counterintuitive, embracing the chilly weather can actually help you stay warm during sweater season.

People who spend a lot of time in the cold can actually acclimatize their bodies to deal better with the chill, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The secret is a type of body fat called brown fat. While regular white body fat stores calories, brown fat consumes calories and releases the energy as heat.

The Cleveland Clinic explains:

“Brown fat activates at colder temperatures, right before you start shivering. Some studies suggest turning down the thermostat, taking a cold shower or an ice bath could activate brown fat to help your body produce more to burn more calories.”

Exercise and a well-balanced diet, especially one with lots of iron, may also help boost brown fat.

2. Get physical

Senior exercise
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Don’t use frigid temps as an excuse to hang around the house all day like an icicle. Get your heart pumping and generate some body heat with a little physical activity.

If you have a home gym, put your treadmill or stationary bike to good use. Remember to close the door to seal the warm air in the room.

Even if you don’t have at-home exercise equipment, there are still many easy exercises you can perform. They range from jogging in place and jumping jacks to simply organizing your kitchen.

3. Cook up a storm

Man removing pies from oven.
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Your grandparents and great-grandparents knew a thing or two about staying warm in winter that can still pay dividends today. According to Wise Bread:

“Generations ago, our heating system was our cooking system. The wood-burning oven, coal stove or fireplace served the dual purpose of feeding the family and keeping them warm.”

Wise Bread suggests lowering the setting on the furnace whenever you cook. Also, try to cook when everyone is home and “can enjoy the added warmth.”

One caveat: Although it may be tempting, turning on an empty oven to generate heat is inefficient and may pose serious safety risks, ranging from burns to carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t do it.

4. Get steamed up

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Ever visit Florida during the summer? Then you can say with 100% certainty that humidity makes the air feel warmer. Bring a little of the Sunshine State into your home this winter by using a humidifier to add moisture to the bone-dry winter air.

If you don’t have a humidifier, you’ll need to improvise a bit. Keep the bathroom door open while you enjoy a long, hot shower and let the steam work its wonders throughout your space.

5. Pitch a tent or assemble a blanket fort

Inside tent
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Setting up camp in your living room or bedroom can actually help you warm up this winter. According to Lifehack:

“Any type of tent will do; all you need to do is put a blanket over your face to trap the air (although not so close as to suffocate you). There’s a reason canopy beds were designed, and it’s not just for decorative purposes. These work well to keep the heat in your bed while you sleep.”

So grab your tent — or assemble a fort with blankets — and prepare for cozy comfort!

6. Put your mind over matter

Woman and girl looking in window from winter scene.
Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com

Meditation is another great way to keep the cold at bay this winter. Lifehack says that even though you can feel the cold on your skin, you also can train your mind to better accept such sensations. According to Lifehack:

“If you think you’re cold, you’ll tense up and start to shiver, but if you actively concentrate on changing your perception of that same feeling you’re experiencing, you’ll begin to relax and gain control over your body.”

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