Winter has well and truly hit us, which means that staying warm suddenly feels like one of life’s biggest challenges. Even with the heating on and a blanket wrapped around you, the cold can still find its way into your bones – and it’s definitely not the nicest of feelings.
Some people adapt better to the cold than others, so don’t worry if you’re always the person wearing the coat while everybody else complains about being too hot. The real problem comes when your extremities – namely your hands and feet – refuse to warm up, no matter what you try to do.
Chronically cold feet might actually be a sign that you have a medical condition that needs treatment. Aside from the weather, there are a number of causes of cold feet, including something called peripheral neuropathy, a complication of diabetes that can lead to damaged nerves in your feet.
You might also have chronically cold feet if you have peripheral artery disease, which slows or prevents blood flow to your feet, hyperthyroidism, or Raynaud’s, which causes your body to overreact to the cold.
The first step towards getting warmer feet is to treat the source of the issue, so if you haven’t visited a doctor about your chronically cold feet yet, it’s worth scheduling in an appointment.
Your doctor will be able to give you a specific medication to treat any condition or illness you may have, which will go a long way towards helping you retain more heat in your feet.
Medication aside, there are things that you can do yourself to warm your feet naturally. While they won’t treat the cause of the problem, they’ll be able to give you some short-term relief from the cold!
Here are some techniques for you to try out today:
1. Give yourself a warm foot spa
There’s no pleasanter feeling than soaking your feet in a warm bath on a cold day, but the benefits of a hot water soak go beyond the enjoyable sensation. The warm water can actually encourage circulation to your feet, which will gradually warm them up and keep them toasty long after you’ve drained the water.
Bonus points if you can find yourself a proper foot spa machine that offers additional bubble and massage features. Click here for the best foot spas
One word of warning: as tempting as it is to amp up the temperature, make sure the water isn’t too hot. If you get too excited about the prospect of warm feet and resort to drastic measures, you can do more damage than good, by causing fluid to leak from your blood vessels, leading to inflammation and swelling.
2. Give foot exercises a go
It sounds slightly insane, but foot exercises are one of the simplest proven ways to naturally warm your feet. You don’t have to commit to actual exercise for this one to be effective – in fact, you don’t even need to get up from your chair. Just moving your feet and toes will be enough to encourage circulation and gradually warm your feet up.
Make sure to exercise your feet regularly if you’re experiencing a case of chronic coldness. Try circling your ankles one at a time, or making shapes and letters with your big toe. Yes, it probably feels stupid, but if it works, you can’t really knock the method.
3. Invest in a pair of thermal socks
The beauty of thermal clothing is so often underappreciated. You won’t understand just how powerful the thermal sock can be unless you invest in one yourself. They can be pretty pricey, but you pay for what you get – long-lasting warmth, comfort, and durability.
Go for socks made out of wool or cotton if you’re worried about not giving your feet any breathing air. Sweating can actually make feet even colder because as sweat evaporates, it removes some of your body heat.
Be sure to consider your shoes, too – anything too tight might cut off circulation, which isn’t going to help you keep the heat in. You can purchase thermal socks here
4. Drink plenty of water
Maintaining a consistent intake of water is a simple way to enhance the efficiency of our blood vessels and improve blood flow. Regularly drinking cups of lukewarm water can help to keep your body hydrated and healthy, which is essential for good circulation.
To go even better than that, try drinking a cup of hot water – with added lemon juice for a bit of flavorlavour – if you’re really looking for improvement. Drinking a hot cup of water works in the same way as taking a warm bath, naturally increasing blood circulation through the arteries and veins.
Not only will you be warming up your feet; studies have found that better blood flow can have benefits such as improved blood pressure and decreased risk of heart disease.
5. Include omega 3 in your diet
One of the best food sources to add to your diet for warmer feet are foods containing omega 3 fatty acids. These fats are beneficial for circulation because they encourage the release of nitric oxide, which dilates your blood vessels and increases blood flow all around the body.
Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are excellent sources of omega 3, but if you’re not a fish fan, you can also find omega 3 in plant foods like berries, flaxseeds, edamame, walnuts, beans and hemp seeds. Many health stores sell omega 3 supplements if you want to be certain that you’re consuming the omega 3 you need.
Studies have found that omega 3 increases blood flow to the legs and feet in particular, so if cold feet are your problem, you know what to do.
6. Quit smoking
This obviously doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you’re a smoker, chronically cold feet are another reason why you should consider quitting. Smoking interferes with the flow of blood, which is why you might find that you have poor circulation in the areas of your body that are furthest away from your heart, like your feet. It also damages the walls of blood vessels and causes plaque to build up in veins – so not a great combination.
Quitting smoking is far from easy, but when you’re ready to get serious about your health, visit your doctor and enquire about the support they can offer you. There are lots of methods to make quitting smoking easier than ever, and there’s no pressure to take things too quickly.
7. Consider vegan protein sources
Not everyone could imagine cutting meat out of their lives, but that’s not to say that you can’t still benefit from vegetable protein sources as an alternative from time to time. Studies have found that vegan sources of protein are more effective at lowering central blood pressure and arterial pressure than animal sources, which means you’re more likely to improve blood flow to your feet if you ditch the chicken for a plant-based alternative.
There are far more vegan sources of proteins than many people realise. We’re misled into believing that we can only get our protein from meats when actually, you can get more than enough protein from plant-based sources like beans, seeds, nuts, lentils, spinach, potatoes, oatmeal and soymilk.
- SAFE, NATURAL LONG-LASTING HEAT - Odorless, Disposable, Single-Use Item, Do Not Apply Directly to The Skin. TSA Approved. Made in the USA using domestic and imported materials.
- TO ACTIVATE - Remove warmer from outer package, shake to activate. Warmer heats up in 15-30 minutes. If heat decreases, expose warmer to air and shake. After use, dispose with regular garbage. Ingredients will not harm the environment.
- MULTIPURPOSE WARMERS - Single use air-activated heat packs that provide everyday warmth and are ideal for keeping your body warm when the temperature gets cold. They’re available in several styles designed for your hands, feet, and body.
- WHEN TO USE: Tailgating at Events, Outdoor Sporting Events, Hunting & Fishing, Camping & Hiking, Working in The Yard, Jogging or Taking Your Pet for A Walk. Convenient, Compact, Portable.
- Note: Vibration Only, Don't buy it if you want shiatsu. 3-in-1 Back & Foot Massager - Snailax foot warmer can be used as back massager or foot massager by simply unzipping top cover. Gentle vibration massage along with heat therapeutic helps relieve stiffness,cramps,and muscle pain for Lower back,abdominal,thighs, legs or foot.
- Heat Therapy - Snailax foot massager machine is built in heating pads with auto shut off feature and 2 Heating levels. Fast warm up within 1 minute to provide your feet with a warm massage spa. The heat therapy eases muscle tension, neuropathy, plantar fasciitis and promote blood circulation.
- Vibration Massage-The electric feet massager has 5 vibrating massage modes. After detaching top cover, it is a vibration pad with heat for back,neck,thigh,leg and foot to meet your relaxation needs. 30-min body massage a day at home, office or car.
- Super Cozy Plush Cloth: Snailax foot and back heating pad offers detachable and washable plush cloth for feet, legs and body. Soft plush is skin friendly for feet ankles.
- Stay dry with FastDry technology that quickly transports moisture away from your skin to keep feet dry and comfortable, so you don't have to worry about switching out your work socks during the day.
- Win The fight against odor-causing bacteria in work socks that feature antimicrobial properties designed to neutralize the toughest odors and keep socks smelling fresh in any conditions.
- These socks have just the right amount of cross stretch for quicker recovery and deliver a streamlined performance fit to keep your feet comfortable and secure through the entire day.
- This rugged style is built with extra reinforcement in the heel and toe for added durability.
- KEEP YOUR FEET WARM: These socks are ideal for cold weather because they’re specifically designed to trap heat. They have a brushed inner lining that insulates your feet, keeping them warm and toasty.
- SOFT & COMFY: Lounge at home in comfort with these cozy socks. Their soft, brushed liner is super comfortable and helps keep your feet warm. These socks feel good and look good. Wear them all winter!
- STYLISH DESIGN: Trade in heavy slippers and itchy wool socks for these unbelievably plush, unique socks by Hot Feet. They fit USA men’s shoe sizes 6–12.5, making them one-size-fits-most.
- MOISTURE-WICKING: These men's socks make the perfect thermal socks because while they are heated, they are also moisture wicking, keeping you from having sweaty feet.
8. Practice yoga
Yoga still gets some stick for its stereotype as being a bit of a hippie activity, but actually, it’s a legitimate strengthening exercise that’s proven incredibly effective at improving circulation around the body. The different aspects of yoga can help to get your blood pumping and increase oxygen levels in the cells. It also strengthens the muscles in your legs, which naturally encourages more blood flow to your feet, helping keep them warm.
If you’re a complete newbie to yoga, there’s no need to get too intense too soon. Luckily, there is plenty of simple yoga poses you can do to guarantee an improved blood flow around your body.
Try practicing the downward dog, resting on your hands and feet with your pelvis up towards the ceiling. If you haven’t stretched in a while, it might feel quite awkward, but it’s a move that improves with regular practice.
9. Try out compression gear
If you’re worried about aging yourself by about 20 years with compression gear, push your worries to the side for the sake of your health. Compression socks in particular are incredibly beneficial to people with cold feet. They’re designed to apply pressure to the lower legs, helping to maintain blood flow, making them one of the best natural ways to reduce swelling, enhance circulation, and soothe aching legs and feet.
You can buy compression socks from a number of online stores, or your doctor might advise you on a particular product that works well. Wear them every day for the best effects – being sure to wash them between uses, of course!
10. Eat dark chocolate
As if anybody needs an excuse to eat more chocolate, here’s one: dark chocolate has been proven to improve blood flow to the feet. Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, nutrients with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The flavonoids in dark chocolate enhance blood flow by improving circulation from the heart and regulating nitric oxide, which stimulates blood vessel dilatation.
Be warned that while dark chocolate is good for you in smaller amounts, like most heart-healthy sources of fat, too much of it will result in an increased calorie intake, which isn’t ideal if you want to avoid weight gain. Remember that a little goes a long way – a couple of squares a day will be enough to provide you with the nutrients you need – and your chocolate of choice needs a cocoa content of at least 70 percent to be effective.
11. Try out dry brushing
If your only experience with a brush relates to your hair, you’re probably wondering what on earth dry brushing is. Simply put, it’s a method of improving your circulation while exfoliating the skin, which is thought to encourage lymphatic drainage and remove harmful toxins from your body. A dry brush is essentially a stiff-bristled brush that you use in the process.
To encourage blood flow to your feet through dry brushing, try brushing in swift downward motions from your calves towards your feet. Keep going for a couple of minutes until your skin feels tingly and has taken on a rosy tint.
You can buy dry brushes from most online stores, and they’re also pretty popular in spa and pampering gift sets. Don’t knock this one until you’ve tried it – it feels surprisingly good, and is really simple to incorporate into your daily routine.
Remember, visit your doctor if you have any reason for concern, but otherwise, follow these steps for instantly warmer feet, the natural way.