10 ways to keep warm

10 ways to keep warm

Winter has well and truly arrived in fair city of Canberra.

Frosty mornings and mild days are predicted over the coming days, eventually reaching painful minus 5 degree mornings again next week.

A strange combination of clouds gathering over Mt Stromlo gave the sky an eerie feel yesterday.

A strange combination of clouds gathering over Mt Stromlo gave the sky an eerie feel yesterday.Credit:Chris Nolan

With a long and frosty winter in store, we wanted to find out how to stay warm this winter, and spoke to experts and academics about 10 tried and tested methods of keeping out the cold.

1. Wearing a hat makes a big difference


When your head is warm, your body also feels warm.
The Australian National University medical school’s Professor Peter Colignon said the head is often the barest part of the body.

‘‘Your head has the largest exposed surface area,’’ he said. ‘‘As you can imagine, hair isn’t a very good insulator, particularly in balding men.

‘‘If you cover up your head, you won’t lose much heat at all.’’

2. Keeping the hands and feet warm heats up the body

During cold weather, blood flow to the hands and feet is diverted to other parts of your body, according to Professor Colignon.

‘‘They’re the first place you’ll feel the cold,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s important to have gloves and socks.’’

3. Drinking warm beverages will make you feel warmer

Professor Colignon explained there was a scientific process, which actually made your body feel warmer.

‘‘When you drink anything, whether it be tea or soup, that has a higher temperature than your body, the temperature will then be transferred into your body’’ he said.

‘‘From here, your body will try to get rid of the excess heat through cooling methods.

‘‘The effect will raise your skin temperature, and you will feel warmer.’’

4. Exercise heats up the body

This is not rocket science, but Professor Colignon describes working out akin to ‘‘having your own personal heater’’.

‘‘Working out generates heat within your muscles,’’ he said.‘‘It also improves your blood circulation, so hot blood gets to your fingers and toes.’’

5. Wear layers of clothing

It is a tried and tested method of staying warm, and the way people stay warm in extreme climates such as Scandinavia and Canada.

‘‘Insulating yourself with layers of clothing traps the heat within your body, and the air between your layers warms up,’’ Professor Colignon said.

‘‘The bonus of this is that it also lets you take off layers when you get inside.‘‘

6. Alcohol

This is not an excuse to drink in excessive amounts, but a low amount of alcohol has been proven to dilate blood vessels in the skin.

‘‘However, excessive amounts of alcohol can be dangerous, and in instances in Canada and Europe, people have died after falling over and passing out in the cold,’’ Professor Colignon said.

7. Keeping windows and doors sealed.

Lecturer in architecture at the University of Canberra David Fleming said that keeping doors and windows shut tight can help warm up the house.

‘‘Make sure they’re sealed and weather tight, but don’t forget that ventilation is important,’’ he said.

‘‘Double glazing of windows and doors is even more of a benefit.’’

8. Try to get as much sunlight into the property as possible

This is a simple enough hint, but Mr Fleming said the challenge was to try and keep it in the house.

‘‘Let it hit some solid masonry, or a concrete floor to trap in the heat,’’ he said. ‘‘This is something that’s called thermal mass.’’

Floor coverings made a big difference as to how much heat would be retained in a property.

‘‘A polished concrete floor is stylish, popular and helps keep heat in the house,’’ he said. ‘‘As long as there’s a concrete slab beneath the house, and not elevated on joists, heat would be retained.’’

9. Keep stairwells sealed shut

A lot of heat is lost in houses when stairwells are left open, according to Mr Fleming.

‘‘Hot air rises, so it’s important to seal off ways heat can escape by closing any doors to stairwells.’’

10. Insulation

Insulation is important in cities like Canberra, Mr Fleming said.


‘‘If people go through the extra effort to put heat in the house, you have to keep the heat in the house,’’ he said.

‘‘Fibreglass insulation is good, and it is easy to retrofit into houses.’’

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