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How to Improve Circulation

Poor circulation can be caused by any number of medical or lifestyle factors, including diabetes, hypothyroidism, lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity. Individuals that suffer from poor circulation typically experience coldness or numbness in their extremities, pain or cramping while walking, and slower healing of wounds. More serious issues, such as greater susceptibility to blood clots, kidney damage, and heart problems, may develop if the condition is left untreated.

If you currently exhibit any signs or symptoms of poor circulation, you should see your doctor immediately. In the meantime, you might be able to improve your circulation by doing one or more of the following:

  • universal-heated-wrap_HEngage in some form of moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, or biking, for at least 30 minutes per day
  • Stand up at least once an hour to stretch, shake out your limbs, and get your blood flowing a bit more
  • Wear battery heated socks (which you can find at CozyWinters.com) or compression socks to promote circulation through your lower legs
  • Do simple yoga poses designed to aid circulatory performance
  • Use far infrared heat technology, available in our Universal Heat Wrap, on your legs, back, shoulders, neck, and elsewhere to penetrate deep into tissue and stimulate blood flow
  • Limit your consumption of sodium, saturated fats, caffeine, and unhealthy, processed foods
  • Keep well hydrated by drinking at least 64 oz. of water per day
  • Prop your feet above heart level for a few minutes several times throughout the day to increase lower body circulation

Although these tips are in no way meant to replace professional advice or medical treatment, they could help improve blood flow and ease some of the discomfort caused by the more common side effects of poor circulation. Give them a try today.

Top Hiking Destinations in the U.S.

summer hikingHiking perennially ranks as one of America’s most popular summer pastimes—and for good reason. It is an activity that just about everyone can participate in, regardless of age or experience, and doesn’t require a whole lot of expensive gear to get started. In fact, if you are relatively fit and can walk while carrying a moderate amount of supplies (chiefly water and first-aid basics), then you can enjoy the scenic natural beauty found in abundance at these top U.S. hiking destinations.

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon boasts 15 official trails leading from either the North or South rim into the park’s depths. But if you want to attempt a descent, you’ll need a permit (and a bit of luck) to do so. That’s because the Park Service issues only 13,000 hiking permits per year, fulfilling less than 50% of the more than 30,000 requests received.

Yosemite National Park

With more than 800 miles of hiking trails, Yosemite can serve as your favorite vacation destination for many years to come. First-timers are recommended to remain in the Yosemite Valley portion of the park, which features Half Dome, El Capitan, waterfalls, and plenty of wildlife.

The Appalachian Trail

Spanning 14 states, six national parks, and eight national forests, the Appalachian Trail is one of the most flexible hiking options listed here. You can choose to tackle as long or as short a portion of the 2,178-mile trail as you like, or even take several weeks to traverse the entire distance—which many people have likened to a spiritual journey.

Glacier National Park

This oft-overlooked treasure is situated in northern Montana near the Canadian border and offers visitors a wide variety of prime hiking terrain ranging from verdant meadows to crystal-clear lakes, towering mountain peaks, and, of course, expansive glaciers. But be forewarned: many of the popular areas of Glacier National Park are covered in snow until late July or early August, so it might be necessary to pack some Yaktrax spikeless ice cleats even for summer outings.

Denali National Park

Experienced hikers that want a truly unique adventure should make it a point to visit Denali National Park in Alaska. Trails are concentrated near the park entrance only, so anything beyond that will basically yield a wilderness experience. Mount McKinley, glaciers, miles of unobstructed views, and peaceful solitude are just a few of the reasons to go.

Keeping Warm in a Chilly Office

cold-officeTo a majority of people, an air conditioned office is viewed as a welcome refuge from the hot, muggy midsummer temperatures that are currently afflicting most of the country. But, as the old adage says, you can have too much of a good thing, and this applies as much to artificially cooled workspaces as to anything else. So if the thermostat in your building is set to a point where it’s causing you more discomfort than relief, here are a few strategies for keeping warm in that chilly office:

Dress for your work environment

Even if the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the high-90s, you should still pack a jacket, sweater, cardigan, wrap, or shawl to combat the cold that you know is awaiting you at work. When you get in the habit of dressing for the office temperature instead of the outdoor temperature, you’ll naturally want to avoid bare legs (think pantsuits instead of skirts), short-sleeved tops, and other fashion choices that might leave you feeling frosty.

Get up and move around

Sitting quietly at your desk for long periods of time is the best way to ensure that the air conditioned chill goes straight to your bones. Counteract this effect by getting up at least once an hour to take a quick lap around the office, walk up and down a couple flights of stairs, or do some stretches to get your heart pumping and blood circulating. You can even go outside for a few minutes to let the summer sunshine warm you up.

Break out the winter gear

If sweaters and stretching aren’t enough to stop the shivering, don’t be afraid to break out some winter gear. For example, our CozyWinters electric throws and electric travel blankets are not only toasty warm, but also compact enough to store in a desk drawer when not in use, making them ideal for the office. And we’ve seen plenty of folks using space heaters, fingerless gloves, and wearable blankets throughout July and August to help fight the office chill.

Don’t let an overly air conditioned office have a negative impact on your comfort and productivity this summer. Use these strategies and your favorite CozyWinters products to stay warm all year round.

Follow the Snow

Most people can’t wait for winter to give way to the warmth of spring and summer, but skiers and snowboarders are a different breed. They exult in the cold and snow, and usually can’t make it through an entire off-season without indulging in their favorite activity at least one more time.

Of course the challenge is finding a suitable venue for skiing or snowboarding when temperatures are in the high-90s across most of the country. Fortunately, if you’ve got the cash and vacation time, you can follow the snow to these amazing locales:

North America

The two best places for summer skiing in North America are Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, and Palmer Glacier on Mount Hood in Oregon. Whistler Blackcomb, which is suitable for intermediate and advanced skill levels, offers glacier skiing from June to August, while Palmer Glacier is open to the public from May to September.

follow the snow summer skiing portillo chile resortSouth America

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere means winter in the Southern Hemisphere, so for a true cold-weather snow experience, pack up your SporTube snowboard case and head south of the equator.

There are plenty of major ski resorts in South America to choose from, but the most popular ones include Portillo and La Parva in Chile and Bariloche and Cerro Bayo in Argentina. These resorts run the gamut in terms of powder quality, terrain, and off-piste options, and also vary in their degree of family-friendliness and cost, so do your research before you go.

Europe

The Alps are a terrific downhill skiing and snowboarding destination all year round, and can be accessed via world-class resorts in Switzerland, Austria, France, and Italy. Norway also offers exciting winter sport opportunities, so don’t leave Scandinavia off your list of locations to investigate.

Tips for Sleeping Better in Hot Weather

hot sleepAlthough nighttime temperatures may still cool and pleasant for many, the summer heat could make it more difficult to fall—and stay—asleep in warmer parts of the country. Obviously, if you have a working air conditioner in the bedroom, getting comfortable at night won’t necessarily be much of an issue. But if you’re not in a position to crank the AC, or you simply want to reduce your energy bill, consider implementing the following tips for sleeping better in hot weather.

 

Before sleep:

  • Keep hot air and sunlight out of your bedroom during the daytime by closing the room’s windows, curtains, and/or blinds
  • Drink a glass of cold water before heading to bed to help lower your body temperature
  • Rinse off with a cool shower prior to turning in
  • Change your bed linens to light, breathable cotton to take advantage of the material’s natural ventilating properties
  • Consider getting lightweight, loose fitting, breathable pajamas – or sleep clothes made of sweat-wicking material
  • If possible, keep bedroom doors open to allow airflow
  • Skip the socks – your feet help regulate your overall body temp, so if they’re hot, you’re hot!

 

During sleep:

  • Position two fans at strategic locations in the room to create a nice cross-breeze
  • Put a bowl of ice cubes in front of the fans or drape a damp towel over the fan to further cool the air it circulates
  • Use a product such as the Cool Pad from CozyWinters to help absorb and dissipate your body heat to make you more comfortable in bed
  • Place an ice-filled plastic baggie or a frozen washcloth over the pulse points in your wrists or neck for targeted cooling
  • Heat rises, so consider moving the bed downstairs or ditching the bed frame to get your mattress lower
  • Get out of the house entirely by setting up a tent in the backyard or sleeping on a screened-in porch

 

A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by in the summer when temperatures hover in the 80s or 90s even after the sun goes down. If you don’t have access to air conditioning, try these tricks for beating the nighttime heat.

The Dangers of Leaving Pets in Hot Cars

hot carIt’s natural to want to take your dog or cat with you when you go on a long road trip, spend a day at the beach, or simply run errands around town. After all, pets are an important part of the family, and it wouldn’t be the same to do these things without them.

However, driving with a pet can lead to some dangerous situations, particularly when you have to enter a store, restaurant, or other establishment where animals are not allowed. You may be tempted to just crack the windows and take care of your business while Fido hangs out in the car, but this is an extremely risky move that should be avoided when the weather warms up. Consider the following:

  • Even with the windows cracked, it takes mere minutes for the temperature inside a parked vehicle to surpass 100 degrees on an 85-degree day.
  • Your parked car is not safer for your pet just because you’ve had the air conditioner on recently. As soon as you turn the AC off to go inside, the interior temperature will immediately begin to rise.
  • While cooling pet products (such as the Hound Cooler Pet Bed) do provide comfort in hot conditions, they do not reduce the dangers of heat stroke or death under such extreme conditions as leaving your pet in a locked car. These products are meant to provide cooling in survivable conditions only, where there is sufficient air-flow for ventilation and preferably access to shade or cover.
  • You never know what might happen to delay you on your errand. Something you thought would take only a few minutes could suddenly end up taking twenty or more, causing your pet to suffer.

Despite the well-known dangers of leaving pets in parked vehicles in hot weather, thousands of owners do it every year – usually because they are merely not aware of the real risks. If you come across a dog or cat in obvious distress in a locked vehicle, please take action using one or more of the following suggestions:

  • If you witness someone begin to leave their dog in a locked car, offer to hold the dog on its leash outside the car while the owner completes their errand.
  • If the car is in a parking lot, you can ask customer service/the front desk of nearby buildings to make an announcement for the owner to return to their car.
  • You can call the local Humane enforcement, police, or animal control authorities (be ready to give the make, model, color, and license plate of the car).
  • If you do not know the number for local or specialized authorities, PETA recommends that you call 911 to report the offense and wait on the scene until responders arrive.
  • Be aware of any local, state, and federal laws that may outlaw “reasonable force” by civilians (such as breaking into a car to rescue a pet in distress) prior to attempting rescue.

It’s perfectly possible for you to enjoy car trips with pets in warm or hot weather. Just make sure you do so responsibly by never leaving a dog or cat alone in a parked vehicle. As a general rule, if you or a child would be uncomfortable or at risk due to the temperature, so would your pet.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Water

The warm spring sun makes May an ideal month for getting out of the house with your dog to enjoy activities such as early morning jogs, Frisbee sessions at the park, and excursions to the beach, lake, or river.

While canine safety is not such an issue during park play or on-leash jogging, it is a major concern whenever water is involved. That’s because just like humans, not all dogs have equal swimming abilities or endurance levels. Plus, accidents and injuries are always a possibility, which is why you need to be prepared for anything. So before you head out on the water with your canine companion, read these tips about how to keep your dog safe:

  • Never let your dog play in the water unsupervised – keep him in sight at all times
  • Regardless of swimming ability, always use a canine life jacket (such as the Paws  Aboard model sold at CozyWinters) to protect against danger due to fear, cramps, exhaustion, or other problemsDog-Life-Jacket
  • Be aware of others nearby that may pose an unintentional risk to your pet – such as children, other dogs, or boats
  • Provide your dog with a shaded rest area and give him plenty of breaks throughout the day. If not swimming in fresh water, be sure to provide some to drink regularly
  • Use a doggy boat ladder, pool ramp, or similar product to give your pet a safe and easy way to exit the water by himself (available at CozyWinters)
  • Rinse your dog’s coat after a day in the water to remove any salt, chlorine, or other impurities that may cause discomfort or skin problems
  • Be sure to thoroughly dry your pet’s ears to prevent possible infection

One of the supreme joys of dog ownership is being able to spend quality time with your pet during your regular hobbies. If your plans for this spring and summer include frolicking in the water, keep the above safety tips in mind so you can protect your beloved canine companion from danger.

Tips for Storing Ski/Snowboard Gear

ski storage rackMid-April means the end of another awesome ski and snowboard season for most parts of the country. You’ve had your fun out on the slopes every weekend for the past several months, and are already counting down the days until winter returns and you can get back to ripping or shredding. But in order to make sure you’re ready to go at the first sign of snowfall next November or December, it’s important to store your gear properly. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take your skis or snowboard to your favorite pro shop for a full tune-up (or do it yourself if you have the tools and know-how). The purpose of the tune-up is to clean the base, shave nicks, remove burrs, sharpen the edges, and apply a fresh coat of wax to help seal in moisture and inhibit excessive drying.
  • Store your skis or board neatly in a clean, dry place to prevent rust and other damage. We recommend using a product like the wall-mounted multi-storage rack available at CozyWinters.com instead of simply stacking your gear on the concrete floor of your garage or basement.
  • Wash and dry all snow jackets, snow pants, socks, gloves, and neck gaiters, and store the items together to make them easier to find next season.
  • Scrub your ski or snowboard boots with a soft bristled brush and a mild liquid detergent to remove dirt, mud, grease, and grime. Then thoroughly dry them with an electric boot and shoe dryer from PEET, Chinook, DryGuy or another trusted brand before storing them in a closet or on a wall rack. You might also want to throw a scented dryer sheet into each boot or give them a quick squirt of Febreeze to help maintain freshness.

Taking the extra time and money to clean, maintain, and store your ski or snowboard gear properly is never as much fun as using the equipment on your favorite mountains or trails, but is critical to good performance and durability. Follow the above tips before stowing everything away to help ensure your gear is in great shape next winter.

American Cities with the Harshest Winters

You don’t have to be a meteorologist to know that not all winter weather is created equal. Even if you eliminate places like Florida, Arizona, and Hawaii from consideration, there are still significant differences in average temperatures, wind chill, and snowfall from region to region, state to state, and city to city. Of course, in our statistics obsessed society, organizations such as The Weather Channel track and record every aspect of winter weather so we can see exactly how these locations stack up against each other.

Which American cities can lay claim to having the harshest winters? Well, that depends on the sources you consult and the criteria that were used to arrive at the rankings. But in general, the following 10 urban centers appear again and again on plenty of lists because of persistently low temperatures combined with heavy precipitation and snowfall rates:harsh winter

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Portland, ME
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Columbus, OH
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Hartford, CT

Did your city make the list? If so, then we recommend using some of the heated clothing and household products we carry at CozyWinters. Our battery-heated gloves, jackets, vests, and other apparel will keep you warm when you have to venture out into the elements, while our indoor electric throws, blankets, and heated chair covers can help you save money on home heating bills. We also sell a variety of heated dog beds and water bowls to make the cold season easier on your beloved pets.

There’s a lot to love about winters that allow for outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. But it’s a completely different story when winters are so harsh that comfort and safety are compromised, so take extra precautions against the cold if you live in one of the cities listed above!

How to De-Winterize Your Vehicle

Now that it looks like temperatures are warming up in many places, you should spend a few hours de-winterizing your vehicle to get it ready for spring. This process usually involves reversing all the things you did to winterize it in the first place, plus a couple extra detailing steps to remove any lingering road salt that may corrode sensitive areas such as the undercarriage or muffler. Here’s what we recommend doing:

spring car

  • Remove all floor mats and thoroughly vacuum and/or wash them
  • Vacuum all exposed carpeting throughout the rest of the vehicle
  • Clean the exterior of your vehicle by taking it to a commercial car wash that offers power jets and an under-spray to remove accumulated road salt, dried slush, dirt, sand, and other debris
  • Follow up the commercial wash with a hand wash that focuses on the wheel wells, bumpers, door frames, and other places that might have been missed
  • If desired, use auto detailing clay to remove any remaining contaminants and particles that might damage your paint
  • Change your winter or snow tires back to all-season tires
  • Swap out your winter emergency kit for one that is geared towards summer
  • Remove and carefully store all heated car seat pads, travel electric blankets, and heated pet beds that you may have been using in your vehicle during the winter

There’s no question that the extreme temperatures, road salt, sand, and other chemicals your car is routinely exposed to in winter can really take a toll on its looks and performance. So do yourself a favor and follow the above de-winterizing tips to help extend the life of your vehicle.