Saturday, 19 October 2013

Body heat

There's a lot of talk at the moment about the rising cost of gas and electricity, and with winter approaching keeping warm is on everyone's mind. Naturally people are worried about how they are going to pay their bills, and are looking for ways to cut down their fuel consumption. I think there is another way to keep warm apart from turning the heating up. We all know about insulating our homes, wearing more clothes, taking a hot bath, and having hot drinks throughout the day, but I think there is a way of acclimatising our bodies to deal with the drop in temperatures.

If you think about where people work, indoors, office, shop, factory, all these places put their heating on for the comfort of their employees. No one would be happy with sitting at a desk in an office all day wearing a coat and hat. On the other hand, they go to work wearing lightweight clothes and expect the heating to be turned up because they are cold. Surely there should be a happy medium, wear thicker clothes and turn the heat down a notch or two. I think central heating set to a tropical level is making people soft. Their body then gets used to having heat blasted at it throughout the day so when they go home, they have to turn their central heating up high because they would shiver.

If your body gets used to being mollycoddled with constant heat, it forgets how to cope when it gets cold. I expect in five hundred years time people will all have their own heated personal bubble. It will be kept inside their heated garage, it will have wheels, so all they have to do is step inside and take themselves to work, where they will park it inside an underground heated park, and get the elevator up to their heated office. They will have no contact with the awful British weather, and their skins will be a sickly grey colour and their lungs will be under used and need extra supplies of oxygen. Their immune system will be zilch, they won't have one. Fantasy maybe, but you never know what will happen in the future.

Now look at the people who have hard lives living in cold climates, those that work outside, work the land or keep livestock. Think about the intrepid explorers traipsing through miles of snow and ice, those who live in cold countries. What have they in common, they move about a lot, and their bodies generate their own heat. They get acclimatised to their surroundings, and become toughened up to cope with cold.

Now I'm not about to tell you what to do, you can draw your own conclusions, but what I will say is, you can get out of your chair and move about, at least for ten minutes every hour. All right, I will tell you what to do. Don't sit all night every night glued to the goggle box, huddled under a blanket. Get up, walk around the house, walk the dog, go for a walk even if you haven't got a dog. Get your arms and legs moving, dance and jump up and down if you can. Generate your own body heat and keep it trapped close to you underneath your layers.

OK don't jump on me, I know there are people with limited mobility, and they will have to devise their own methods for moving the able parts of their bodies. If anyone is confined to a chair but can stretch arms and legs, then do it.

I am so glad that I had a lifetime of working outdoors, doing a physical job, I now find that I can cope very well without much heating. The only time I suffer is when I spend time in a building which is centrally heated. Some of my friends houses are stifling hot, I can only manage about twenty minutes. On the other hand I visit someone who doesn't put their heating on and we both sit there in our coats, ha ha. He is fine and so am I. The library is too hot, the bank is too hot, and the shops are too hot, I have to come out. My sinuses get blocked and I feel groggy and start yawning.

I don't live much differently in the winter than I do in the summer. All the interior doors in my house are open, I like all rooms to be the same temperature, don't like shutting myself in a hot room then having to go into a cold room. I move about a lot in the house, constantly up and down, doing something or other, and keeping busy. All I do is wear more clothes. I'm about to double up on the curtains again, as I do every year at this time. Get the spare sets out of the cupboard, and hang them over the ones already up.

So are you going to give it a go, move about more, go out more, go on, worth a try.
Toodle pip    

21 comments:

  1. Hi Ilona, theres a minimum temperature that a workplace has to be if you're not doing a physical job.
    These days people leave their heated house, get into their warm car and travel to their warm office. We go from heated building to heated building so we're never out in the weather for more than a few minutes.
    An exercise machine would both keep you warm and fit and wouldn't it be good if you could charge torch batteries for a bit of free power.
    Dave.

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  2. Agree Ilona, it's better to take movement breaks throughout the day. My cycle had a dynamo which also can be used to charge my phone or tablet. Think I need one of those road roller things for if the weather gets too icy to be safe

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  3. I think you are right about our getting soft - remember when we had to scrape the ice of the inside of the bedroom window to see out in winter? As with everything there has to be a happy medium I think. I don't like heated bedrooms and we have the window open even if just a little summer and winter at night so there would be no point in heating them anyway! However I do think that old people who lack mobility must feel the cold more than those of us able to get out and about and keep our circulation going.

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  4. Here, in Ontario, after being outside in -35C any indoor temperature feels warm!! As we are putting on our outdoor clothes indoors,we cannot hang around indoors..it's just too hot.If one is ready before the other, they HAVE to go outside because the heat in our outdoor clothes is too much !!
    Jane x

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  5. PS We go snow shoeing in really cold temps..as we get going we have to strip off...we are our own heat generators.
    Jane x

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  6. I think you're right about how our bodies adapt to the temperatures we set for ourselves. I have a niece who keeps her heat very low and her mother (who is in her 70s) cannot stand to go to her house because she said it's freezing in there and she's always cold even with her coat on. So, I can see how older people might suffer more from the cold. On the other hand, my niece isn't cold at all in her house. She is used to it. I keep my heat very low at night during the winter and at a reasonable temp during the day. if I know I'm going to be out for a long period during the day, I lower the temperature while I'm out. Every little bit helps with the heating bills!

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  7. Very sensible! I think it is so silly when places over air condition in summer (in movie theatres for example) and then folks need to take a sweater in order to sit comfortably!

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  8. I used to be a tour guide on an open top bus, the winters were certainly an experience! I used to pile on the layers so much I looked about two stone heavier, but I quickly got used to the cold being outdoors all the time and absolutely hated being in a hot room. Just warm was nice and cosy, and very pleasant after a cold day, but I found most peoples homes so uncomfortably hot that I couldn't wait to get out.

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  9. must admit it has to be damned cold before we put the heating on..lol but my partner and I are outside in all weathers so we dont feel it the same as most folks , drives the kids nuts . We have an hour of heating a day once the weather gets really icy .

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  10. I'm sure you're right Ilona but I have circulation problems and really feel the cold and it gets worse the older I get. I love being outside in cold crisp air as long as I'm bundled up like Nanook of the North.

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  11. Getting outside and moving is good for mental health too.

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  12. I used to work in office where people turned air con off because it was too cold. Some of them came to work in winter in strappy T shirts and then complained they were cold. Years ago, in the winter people wore different clothing in winter than summer. Now they wear the same.

    I do however, remember when I was in my teens, going out with thin tights and a micro skirt and Mum going mad with me. However, there was no central heating to put on either in or out of work.

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  13. I'm with you on the walking. After years of knowing what I OUGHT to be doing and resisting being to TOLD what to do, I had a health issue that has now made it imperative to walk. And of course I feel tons better, as I knew I would. But I'm always hot even though I'm over 70, but my husband is always cold and he's the one who has always run and walked. Old age does funny things to you. Sadly it didn't change my being obstinate!

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  14. My friend has had her heating on since August (I'm not joking either) and I can't bear to be in her house for more than a few minutes, she wears the same clothes all year round and doesn't appear to own a jumper! And I went into a shop yesterday and was so blinkin' hot I had to leave, ridiculous. Saying that at home, I have fibromyalgia and sit around a lot and my husband has Raynaud's hands and works from home, so when it gets cold we do have to have the heating on low and light a fire in the evenings. But when it's cold, not when it's still Autumn!

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  15. Ilona, you are absolutely right. I too dont really have my heating on much and prefer to keep warm by moving about and putting more clothing on.
    But i work in an office and i cannot believe how pathetic many of my colleagues are when it comes to the temperature. There are a few who walk around in thin sleeveless tops, get cold and then turn up the heating-and i work for a charity!
    What an absolute waste. We really have become so weak and self indulgent. Bah humbug!
    Ruth xxx

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  16. I do not like it when heating goes on. Went to a school assembly on Friday and it was like a sauna and I was only wearing a dress and a thin cardigan. The teachers were then telling me that all the kids had sniffles and colds. I know they need to be kept warm but I wonder if the school is kept at such a temperature that germs breed more easily. We didn't have CHeating when we were kids, just a gas fire and that only went on when it was very cold, but I remember being very drousy at school when the heating came on because I wasn't used to it. Heating not on yet for me, but I have been having difficulty with drying the washing because it has been so damp outside. Resorted to using the tumble dryer yesterday which I haven't used for a year! Felt very guilty! Debbie

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    1. We keep our house quite cool and get out for lots of walks. None of us can bear being in hot, stuffy shops or houses. My son has eczema and reacts really badly to the heat. His skin and eyes are always much worse during term time because of the heat in the school. It clears up within a day or two of being on holiday. Perhaps overheated schools are the reason the children always seem to be poorly with coughs and colds. And they're always moaning about needing to cut back on spending in the school!!

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  17. We keep (should say I...don't think hubby has looked at a thermostat in years...) very cool. He used to walk around in shorts and a t shirt in the winter, inside and say it was cold! I actually have him wearing warm clothes (sweatshirt, jeans) now!
    When I was in the UK this summer, I was surprised that of the few shops that did have air conditioning, many left their doors OPEN! Having worked for years in retail, I know an open door invites people in, but NOT when the air conditioning is on. I also notice many do this in winter, when the heat is on..seems to be the small shops, not the chain stores. Complete waste of energy. Maybe a "Come in, we are open" sign would be better!
    As always, your post makes great sense. I always questions those who want the house at 75 in the winter and 68 in our hot summers! And as you say, walk around in the skimpiest of clothes....so happy it is getting cooler here. Feel so much better in the cool weather...

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  18. Brilliant post! We all should just turn the thermostat down a few degrees if we can`t wait to have the heating running.
    I for one hold out with putting it on as long as I can, and we shall also wear a few more layers if we feel chilled. Moving around to generate your own warmth is a good idea! I go cycling even in windy weather. It builds stamina and keeps you warm inside. If walking we might want to walk a bit more briskly to get that body heat up. As you said: don`t sit huddled under blankets for hours, get up and move about as much as possible. Great post!

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  19. Hi here from a first time poster on hour site, love it by the way, yes you do get used to a cooler environment, we layer up, and only in dire circumstances turn on the heating. when I visit my parents because they do not live near I have to stay over and as much as I love them so I dread going because their house is too bloody hot, I mean I feel like am suffocating. But when I think back when we could afford heating bills we did have our house hot so we have definitely got used to a cooler environment. I definitely agree shops, banks, libraries are too hot for me too.

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