Mon. Feb 26th, 2024
alert-–-the-wacky-ways-to-wrap-up-this-winter:-met-office-releases-list-of-weird-hacks-to-stay-warm…-from-ankle-socks-filled-with-microwaved-beans-to-swimming-caps-and-thin-layers-of-clothingAlert – The wacky ways to wrap up this winter: Met Office releases list of weird hacks to stay warm… from ankle socks filled with microwaved beans to swimming caps and THIN layers of clothing

You might be concerned at what onlookers will think if you put on a swimming cap under your cycling helmet or place old socks over your windscreen wipers.

But these are just some of the unusual tips the Met Office has shared to help people prepare for winter weather ahead of the clocks going back an hour this Sunday.

Other so-called ‘#WeatherHacks’ include packing a towel to remove toxic grit or rock salt from your dog’s paws and preparing a kit of essential items in case of flooding.

There is also advice to place 700g of ceramic baking beans in a jug, microwave them on high heat for four minutes and then pour them into cotton ankle socks which you can then put into your shoes to warm them up before heading out in the cold.

A foggy and chilly day in Windsor this morning as people make their way along the Long Walk

A foggy and chilly day in Windsor this morning as people make their way along the Long Walk

Cyclists brave the wet and chilly weather at Richmond Park in south west London today

Cyclists brave the wet and chilly weather at Richmond Park in south west London today

Another tip is wearing several layers of thinner clothing to keep you warmer than one thicker layer – and getting outside in the sunlight to boost vitamin D levels.

And motorists are advised to put old socks or cardboard under their wipers after parking up for the night to prevent them getting stuck to the glass.

The advice was issued by the Met Office this week in partnership with the RAC, British Veterinary Association, UK Health Security Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Holland & Barrett and Cycling UK.

Met Office head of warnings Chris Walsh said: ‘When the clocks go back it’s time to prepare for winter weather. Whether it’s strong winds, cold spells or even ice and snow, there are simple and cost-effective things everyone can do now to prepare for winter weather.’

He added: ‘There are plenty of useful and creative weather hacks out there that can help people to avoid disruption, but also make the most of winter weather.’

Here are the tips in full: 


Socks on your windscreen wipers 

When drivers are parked up for the night, they can put old socks or cardboard under their windscreen wipers to prevent them getting stuck to the glass.

The RAC pointed out that this is important given that if windscreen wipers cannot move, the circuit can overheat causing a fuse to blow.

RAC breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘Winter weather often presents the biggest challenge to motorists. 

‘However, as the temperature dips there are some simple tricks that can save drivers time and money this winter which will ensure they get going more quickly when it gets frosty.’

Swimming cap under your helmet

Cycling UK has advised people to put a swimming cap under their helmet to help keep their head warm when going out on a bike in the winter.

The organisation points out that about 40 to 45 per cent of body heat is lost through the head, so a swimming cap can make a big difference as an additional layer to keep warm. 

Another tip to keep warm when going out is to warm up shoes beforehand. 

The advice is to put 700g of ceramic baking beans in a suitable jug, microwave them on high heat for four minutes and then pour them into cotton ankle socks. People can then put the filled socks in their shoes to warm them up before putting them on.

Cycling UK commercial director Katie Leg, said: ‘Nothing is better for our wellbeing and beating the winter blues than getting outside and reconnecting with nature. 

‘The rustle of leaves and the crisp clear air as you cycle on a winter’s day make all the wrapping up and prepping of your bike worth it. If you’re uncertain about how to make sure you’re winter ready, check out Cycling UK’s website for advice and tips.’

Pack a towel before walking your dog 

A source of concern for pet owners in winter can be managing their animal’s health and wellbeing in the cold.

The British Veterinary Association suggests an important addition to a dog kit bag when surfaces are being gritted.

It advises dog owners to pack a towel to remove toxic grit or rock salt from their pet’s paws when they are out, given that such substances can be extremely toxic to dogs and cats if ingested.

The BVA also suggests regular checks of rabbit and guinea pig water bottles to make sure they are not frozen over. 

Dr Elizabeth Mullineaux, the BVA’s junior vice president, said: ‘As we head into the winter months, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep our furry friends warm and safe when the temperatures plunge. 

‘Even simple things like leaving your dog outside a shop in extremely cold weather can be stressful for them. Cats too, should not be left outside all night. 

‘Domestic rabbits and guinea pigs are vulnerable to the cold despite their warm coats, which is why owners need to be vigilant and take steps to ensure their hutches are protected from the snow, cold draughts and winter rain. If owners have any concerns, they should speak to their local vet.’

Prepare a flood kit

Natural Resources Wales said preparing for severe weather can also mean making sure people have what they need if they face heavy rain or flooding. 

The organisation therefore advises preparing a flood kit to ensure people have their family’s essential items to hand. It added that they should make sure it is kept somewhere accessible.

Kelly McLauchlan, a lead specialist advisor at Natural Resources Wales, said: ‘As we have seen with Storm Babet recently, heavy rainfall and flooding can happen very quickly, so knowing what you can do to prepare is really important. 

‘Thinking ahead and preparing a flood kit with those essential items you and your family need, and then keeping that kit somewhere easily accessible could reduce the worry if you have to leave your home especially if you’re unable to return for a while.’

Get outside for some vitamin D 

Holland and Barrett advises people to wrap up warm and get outside in the sunlight to boost vitamin D levels.

The retailer said studies show that vitamin D levels are at their lowest in the winter months since sunlight is such an important source of it. 

It added that vitamin D is important for bone health, particularly in growing children and preventing bone loss with ageing and menopause. Vitamin D is also said to support the normal functioning of the immune system, and 30 minutes of sun exposure can be enough to boost someone’s levels of vitamin D.

Dr Anojan Arulananthan, Holland and Barrett’s retail health lead, said: ‘Eating a healthy diet in winter is important for the normal functioning of the body, including the immune system. Many essential nutrients play a role in the normal functioning of the immune system such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, iron, copper and selenium. 

‘However, our complex immune system is dependent on many factors for optimal functioning, rather than a single nutrient. Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, and watching our stress levels will help to set us up for fighting those seasonal coughs and colds.’

Wear several layers of thinner clothing

The final tip shared by the Met Office comes from the UK Health Security Agency, which issues cold weather alerts for the health and social care sector during the colder months.

It advises that people should wear several layers of thinner clothing in winter, which could keep them warmer than one thicker layer.

The reason for this is said to be because the multiple layers act as an insulator by trapping warm air between them.

Removing a layer would therefore reduce them amount of heat that is trapped. 

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