The weather is cooling down, and along with it come chilly fingers and toes. But decreasing temperatures aren’t the only thing that can cause cold digits, for some it’s a constant problem. Usually it's just a sign that your body is trying to regulate its own body temperature, but it could be indicative of larger health problems.
As mentioned, cold hands and feet are oftentimes a natural response to falling temperatures. When the weather gets chillier, our bodies have to work harder to pump extra blood to the core in order to keep vital organs warm and functioning properly. Since the blood is sent away from the arms and legs and toward the abdomen, this can result in cold hands and feet. However, there are a few instances where they could require more attention.
According to the Mayo Clinic, cold hands and feet (particularly if they are changing color) can indicate larger circulation issues or issues with your blood vessels. Persistently cold hands and feet are linked to conditions such as diabetes, anemia, Buerger's disease (a rare disease of the arteries), lupus, Raynaud’s disease (another artery condition), scleroderma, and frostbite. So, if you’re noticing discoloration of the skin on your hands and feet, make a doctor’s appointment ASAP!
For most, however, cold hands are feet are fairly common and are nothing to worry about. To help keep warm, boost circulation to the arms and legs with stretching, exercise, and deep, belly breathing. Cardio exercises like running, jogging, and even doing a few jumping jacks can help get blood flowing to the extremities. Warm-up your arms and hands by sweeping them overhead in a wide, circular motion, then back down, breathing deeply. This is especially helpful if you spend much of your day sitting at a desk!
Massage is also a great way to encourage blood flow to any area of the body. Use your fingers to massage the wrists, palms, then each one of the fingers, and likewise on the legs and feet. You can also try using a massage ball like one of these from Gaiam ($14.99, Amazon) at night by rolling the ball around in your hands and underneath the arches of your feet.
And if you’re still feeling the chill, why not try a warm bath, a cup of hot tea with warming spices like ginger or cinnamon, or even microwavable heating mittens like these from Kozy Collar ($34.99, Amazon)?! We’re wishing you a warm, cozy season to come!