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FireMadeFlesh's avatar

How can one build their tolerance to cold weather?

Asked by FireMadeFlesh (15019 points ) June 8th, 2009

I have always been very tolerant of hot weather. I usually wait till it hits 32 degrees before I turn the air conditioner on, and I have felt fine in 40 degree weather when people around me are on the verge of heat stroke. Occasionally I can be in the mood for cold, and I will drive with the air con on when its already a little cold, just because I’m in the mood for cold. Now here in Australia we don’t get cold anything like most other places in the world. If we want snow, we must go to the mountains. However being winter here, it is getting cold (for us) and I don’t want to use heaters because they get stuffy and can use a lot of power. So how can I build my tolerance of cold?

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12 Answers

darkwolf8476's avatar

I used to live with a friend of mine who was a bit of a tight wad in regards to money. I lived in his house, so in the end, what he said went. Well, in the winter, he would keep the thermostat fairly lower than what I was used to, just to save some money. At first, I was putting on layers of clothes, but by the middle of the winter, I hardly even noticed the temperature difference. So basically, it sounds like you’ll have to slowly adjust. I imagine it also works the same going from cold to hot as well.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@darkwolf8476 Thanks, I am slowly getting used to it. At least its not as cold as the time I went hiking in the snow, with boots that weren’t waterproof and gloves that couldn’t keep out the slightest breeze, let alone the gale that was blowing.

YARNLADY's avatar

One thing that might help is get plenty of exercise, and eat healthy. Make sure you get plenty of fruits and vegetables, and drink six to eight glasses of water every day. It helps build up tolerance to sickness, and to enable your defenses to work properly.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m not sure it can be done…well maybe @YARNLADY has the right idea, the healthier you are the more you can get used to extremes. I however lived from age 5 to 23 in a climate where every winter it would get to -40 (same C & F) for a solid 2 to 3 week period every year, occassionally we would hit -55 F (-48 C), with windchills that a couple years reached almost -100 F (-73 C). And I still have a really hard time with anything below about 20 F (-7 C).

Lupin's avatar

Here are a few cold weather rules we follow.
1)You need some basic warm clothing including: long underwear, heavy socks, lined pants. Make sure to put them on as soon as you can so you do not lose body heat right away.
2) Keep moving. Exercise generates heat. You are burning calories at a faster rate when the temperature is low.
3) If you are indoors and your hands are cold put on a sweater and wear a cap. You have to get your core temperature up.
4) You don’t have to heat the whole house to stay warm. A small heater placed in the room you are sitting is often enough.

DarkScribe's avatar

It is similar to building your tolerance to mothers-in-law. You expose yourself to it for only short periods of time, and keep active while trying to ignore it. Earmuffs help.

Seriously, you wear natural fibre clothing, cotton, wool silk etc., as synthetics can even when cold chill by not evaporating dampness. You need good footwear and thermal socks, plus a cap. Try to wear “adjustable” clothing in the sense that you can quickly change your thermal qualities without having to change clothing. That means gloves, scarves and overcoat/jackets. Nothing is worse than being overdressed when going from a cold environment to a warm one.

As someone who has lived in both tropical and extremely cold climates and who will ride a motorcycle in winter, I have learned one or two things about remaining comfortable in cold weather.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Thanks @YARNLADY and @dalepetrie.

@Lupin I don’t want to have to do all that, I want to be less bothered about the cold itself.

@DarkScribe – Lurve for that!!

mcbealer's avatar

I know this sounds insane, but believe it actually does work… when trying to acclimate my body to temperature extremes I have found it helpful to ingest something which is of a comparable temperature before heading out.

For me, that means room temperature h2O in the summer, and ice cream in the winter.

psyla's avatar

When it’s cold, walk fast. The brisk activity will keep you warm. If you have to stand in one spot, you can alternate tapping each foot against the ground and rubbing your hands together. 30% of your body heat is lost through your head, so of all clothing, a warm hat is essential.

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stickdrop's avatar

Here is what you do! Given you already eat well exercise and dont smoke. Start cooling showers. Meaning, start with a warm shower end in cool, next time drop the temp a bit untill you can bare almost cold water in a month or so. breathing through nose deeply and out of the mouth. The only time u should get warm is when you have a hot meal or go out to friends and such. If u want to push it, drip dry after shower.

Mercury's avatar

I was watching Mythbusters last night. 33 degree ice water tolerance with one arm submerged was really interesting. I tolerate cold pretty well, but the Mythbusters reported that Women tolerate 33 degree ice water longer than men, and more of the women met the 3 minute time limit for the submerged arm test.

I have ideas why: womens hormones: ability to carry a kid within them and give birth; a woman’s wierd will to go through pain and discomfort in a desperate state of mind and self!

More ideas…?

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