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APRICITY: How to Make the Most of the Sun on a Cold Winter’s Day
Today, we’re mourning the loss of one of our language’s most beautiful words, so we’re dedicating this post to it in the hopes we can bring it back into use!
If you’ve ever enjoyed that familiar feeling of the warm sun on your face during a cold winter’s day, you’ve experienced apricity.
See, we told you it was beautiful.
It comes from the Latin aprīcus, which means “warmed by the sun”, but somewhere in the dark depths of winter (well, almost!), we’ve forgotten this simple joy.
It’s never particularly tempting to venture outdoors on a chilly winter day. But you’ll never regret catching a bit of crisp and fresh winter air and feeling warmed by a mild winter sun.
You won’t just experience the joy of winter sunbaking in your backyard. You’ll also be giving your body much needed Vitamin D, which helps eliminate your winter blues and improve your complexion and hair quality.
We want you to WANT to head outside on a cold but sunny day, so here are some simple tips to help you stay warm while outdoors in winter:
Tip 1. Find your solar noon
If your backyard has an apricus (sunny) position, make the most of it by heading out there during the “solar noon”, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. This sun calculator will tell you when solar noon hits your location.
We’ve already explained how direct sunlight is an important way for you to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. All you need is 15 to 20 minutes of time in the sun, ideally exposing as much of your skin as possible when you do head out to sun bathe.
Sure, you can take Vitamin D supplements instead. But it doesn’t beat apricating (basking in the sun).
Tip 2. Don’t drive – walk
Sadly many of us are innately lazy creatures! These days, it’s all too easy to drive instead of walking or cycling, whether it’s to your local shops or to work.
Look for ways to expose your body to that beautiful winter sun (and get a valuable work-out into your day as well). Walk to the train station instead of driving. Why not cycle to work if it’s within easy distance? And how about strolling to your local milk bar for the milk run instead of jumping in the car?
Tip 3. Keep moving!
Staying active naturally helps you generate heat. It’s easy to keep busy moving about when you’re walking to and from work or the shops. But what about those times when you’re sitting still – at footy games, for example?
Clothing helps trap heat, but moving generates it. When you’re seated, wiggled your hands and toes every so often to get the blood circulating.
Do we even need to mention the added benefits of movement and activity for your physical and mental health? Just 30 minutes of activity a day can boost your mood and reduce stress.
Tip 4. Take lunch outside
We run busy lives today, but many of us use that as an excuse to work right through our lunch breaks, when we could instead be catching some essential rays.
If your workplace has an outdoors balcony or courtyard, make the most of it! If it’s a sunny day outside, throw on a scarf and make lunchtime an al fresco event.
And if you’re not lucky enough to have a relaxing outdoor area? Find a window with the sun streaming through. Sit back and enjoy the apricity!
Tip 5. Layer up!
Here in Australia, we’re so used to the warm lifestyle we haven’t quite learned how to cope when the cold hits. The key to keeping warm in winter is easy:
Bundle yourself in layers of clothes!
It’s unlikely you’re going to get frostbite sitting on your outdoor verandah, but it’s still good to make sure you’re rugged up.
There is an art to layering up in winter. Insulating your abdomen should be your main aim. You want to protect that core temperature of 37 degrees.
You start with a base layer of form-fitting clothes to keep your torso warm and dry. That includes thermal underwear, long socks, singlets and t-shirts.
Next up you add a middle layer of long-sleeved tops or a jumper. Wool, fleece and polyester clothes help you keep the heat in.
Finally you add the outer shell – your pants, down vest and/or jacket. Waterproof and wind-proof options are best.
Top it off with a thick scarf, gloves and a beanie (depending on how cold it is) and your look is complete!
Tip 6. Protect the head
We now all know it’s a myth that you lose 70% of your body heat through your head. But that doesn’t make brain freeze any more bearable.
The more skin exposed, the more heat your body will lose, so it will always be worthwhile covering your crown with a beanie or cap.
Tip 7. Mittens over gloves
When your fingers and toes get cold, it’s a sign you’re not protecting your body’s core temperature. After all, you get frostbite when your body stops sending blood out to your extremities to protect that inner core that holds all your vital organs.
It’s always unpleasant having frozen fingertips, so gloves are a sure-fire way to keep your phalanges toasty. But mittens are actually better at keeping those digits warm. They allow you to cluster your fingers together, and that helps you produce more heat.
Tip 8. Have water bottles and hand warmers handy
What do you do when it’s a beautiful day outside but just that bit too chilly to make you want to venture out there? Invest in water bottles and hand warmers.
These DIY hand warmers are invaluable when you’re heading out into the cold. Just tuck them into your pockets and you’re good to go!
Tip 9. Hit the snow
We all tend towards hibernating in winter, but if you really want to make the most of that winter sun – and winter in general – you must hit up the ski slopes.
Your body will enjoy the exercise and your mental state the solid dose of Vitamin D. Just don’t forget to bring the sunnies because it’s positively summery on our Aussie Alps.
Tip 10. Eat a hearty meal
Have you noticed that you’re a lot more peckish in winter? It might have something to do with the fact you’re indoors and closer to the pantry more often. But there is more science to it than that: food gives your body heat.
Make sure you’re well fed with a satisfying meal rich in protein. Meanwhile munch on snacks like chocolate and nuts that provide slow-burning fuel to help keep your body warmer longer.
Tip 11. Drink lots of water
Wait a second, we’re not in summer! Why do we need to keep up the water intake?
It sounds contradictory, but water actually helps you retain your body heat, making it easier for you to keep warm.
Plus with all the heaters going, it’s easy to dehydrate quickly. Pure water is always a blessing to your system, but if you feel it’s simply too chilly for that, go for a steaming mug of herbal tea or black coffee instead.
Tip 12. Invest in café blinds
When winter really rolls in, those cool Antarctic winds can be pretty off-putting. But with clear café blinds you can create a heavenly outdoor space insulated from the chill in your own backyard.
Even better, add an outdoor heater, fireplace or fire pit to your indoors/outdoors space. With the blinds rolled down, you can enjoy your backyard view, the fresh air and apricity in a cosy, warm and insulated environment.
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Make the most of the Great Outdoors with more tips, ideas and inspiration from Australian Outdoor Living: