Tips against shivering: Why you constantly freeze in the home office

Cold, colder, home office: The room temperature is right, but we still feel particularly cold at our desks at home. Hands and feet in particular cool down.

Why is that? The physiologist Prof. Ralf Brandes explains what is going on in the body and how to provide heat.

Why do we get cold so quickly in the home office?

Ralph Brandes: The distances are short, we don’t move and sit all day. When you are not moving, your heart pumps less blood to your arms and legs. Less warm blood gets there, we slowly cool down.

When the temperature drops, the body primarily tries to keep the center of the body warm, the extremities are not so important for survival.

That is why we mainly suffer from cold feet and hands. And once they’re cold, it’s hard to warm them up again.

What can we do about the chills?

fires: Get your circulation going, accelerate your heart to over 100 beats per minute. This can be done by jumping, for example. Straining muscles, sweating. That warms.

It also helps to warm up from the outside, for example with a hot bath or hot tea. By the way, alcohol also helps – it has a similar effect to exercise and opens the blood vessels.

Socks or a blanket, on the other hand, do little to improve things, at least if you’re already cold. As well as moving hands and feet.

What is an optimal anti-cold strategy?

fires: Avoid a drafty workplace. There is always a draft at the window – no matter how tight it is. If you work in the basement, for example, you need to know that the higher humidity there makes us more likely to freeze.

Increasing the room temperature a little doesn’t help much. To rule out freezing, it should be 29 to 30 degrees.

But that doesn’t help, because we get tired from such high temperatures. A room temperature of 21 degrees is usually sufficient, over 25 degrees tiredness sets in.

If the workplace is optimized, make sure to keep warm inside and out. Basically once an hour, get up and walk around for two to three minutes, then bounce a little.

Occasionally drink warm tea or take a warm foot bath.

About the person: Ralf Brandes is Secretary General of the German Physiological Society. He is also director of the Institute for Cardiovascular Physiology at the University Hospital in Frankfurt.

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