Winters can get really harsh. If you play your guitar outdoors regularly or occasionally, you know how tough it can get. Playing guitar with cold hands is both hard and uncomfortable.
The goal of this article is to help make your hands less cold, so you can play your guitar with more confidence and ease.
Poor Blood Circulation – Main Cause of Cold Hands
Main cause of cold hands is poor blood circulation. The key to make your hands warmer in a long run is to improve your blood circulation. There are numerous studies that have shown this to be true.
Finding a right diet, exercise, hydration, moving your body in general – all of that improves your blood circulation significantly. Good blood flow will reduce the coldness of your hands, which will consequently make your guitar playing easier, and more comfortable.
Here, in this article, we’re going to find out what you can do to make your hands bit warmer. Check out these 16 essential tips. They help!
First thing that comes to mind are gloves. Good quality gloves keep your hands and fingers warm. Our fingertips are exponents of our hands, so they are most prone parts of our body to get cold.
Gloves can provide protection needed for keeping fingers temperature stable.
But are there gloves made especially for guitar playing?
It’s obvious you can’t use regular winter gloves to play guitar. Yes, there are thinner gloves, but again, can you perform a slide with them?
I found these Musician’s Practice Glove pack made especially for guitar playing. They are designed to keep your fingers fully covered, functional and comfortable when playing outside.
If you play a bass guitar, this is a life saver. If you play on a street, this can be of significant help. Keep in mind that there are no gloves that don’t take a bit of your guitar playing away. Still, those are good enough for you to consider using them.
If you want to know more about these, check out the Amazon site of the product, and customer reviews as well, below.
2. Hold Something Warm
Grab a cup of a warm tea or coffee before you start to play. Warm cup of a soothing drink warms your fingers just by contact. But it’s not only that. Warm liquid will raise your body’s temperature. It’s physics.
Two (or more) bodies (or liquids) in contact tend to achieve temperature equilibrium. So, in this case, let’s say you drink a cup of warm tea. Tea will cool down a bit as your body gain a bit of warmth. Temperature equilibrium will be achieved, and the temperature of your body will raise a bit.
This is important because when the temperature of your body raises, the circulation of your blood gets better. Blood circulation is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to cold hands and cold feet issues.
3. Blow Dryer
Use a blow dryer (or a hair fen). Don’t set it up on warmest blowing possible. Just use it to blow your hand and fingers.
Use it for a minute. Your hands temperature will raise, that’s for sure. Warm air will raise your hands temperature in the process that’s called convection. What is it?
Let’s see what Encyclopedia Britannica says about it:
Convection, process by which heat is transferred by movement of a heated fluid such as air or water.
So, basically, warm air coming out of your blow dryer will transfer heat to your hands.
4. Warm Water
Another self-explanatory tip. Rinse your hands in a sink, under warm water. Don’t do it with hot water!
Rapid temperature changes can act in an opposite way of what you expect. If you rinse your hands in too hot water, after you’re done your hands will undergo a process of rapid cooling.
Use warm water. Rinse your hands for a minute. That should raise the temperature of your hands.
5. Stretch Exercises
Stretch exercises are important as they provide additional blood flow into your hands. For this purpose, you can do regular stretch exercises, or you can do some guitar exercises.
Let’s talk about first type first. What are some good stretch exercises for your fingers?
There are plenty of them. For example, you could massage your hand with your opposite thumb. That way you’ll improve a blood circulation into the hand you’re massaging. Do this for each hand.
Now, you can simply shake your hands and wrists. Do it for about a minute. Don’t shake it like a maniac. This is another exercise that should improve a blood flow into your hands.
You can set your elbow straight, and pull back your wrist gently. Do this with each hand.
This is the time you can get creative. The key is to improve your blood circulation.
Now, you can also do some warmup routines on your guitar. There are a ton of warm up exercises out there on Youtube. You can even invent your own exercise. Every exercise that stretches your fingers is a good exercise.
6. Exhale In Your Hands
We exhale carbon dioxide that is much warmer than the outside air. It is natural for us to exhale in our hands in order to make them warmer.
Don’t forget to do it from time to time. Exhaling in your hands gives you a nice feeling of connection between you and your body.
You can also place your cold hands on your face. You’ll experience that cold sensation when they got in contact. Again, it’s physics. Your face is warmer than your hands.
Those two parts will seek to achieve their temperature equilibrium. The end result is this: hands will gain some warmth.
7. Keep Your Hands In Your Pockets (Or Pants)
If you’re alone in the room, you can keep your hands in your pants, like Al Bundy does. Or simply, you can keep them in your pockets for some time.
Those are both warm places. Keeping your hands there will make them warm up a bit. Also, it is very comfortable to do that.
8. Wear A Winter Hat
Winter hat is not designed just to make your head warm. It has much bigger role. Our head loses our body warmth more than other parts of our body.
It is crucial to keep that heat flow out of your head in control. That way, the body heat and energy won’t dissipate outside.
So, keeping your head warm with a winter hat will consequently make your body as a whole warm.
9. Play Easy First
Play some easy songs with chords first. Don’t start with some demanding soloing, legato, fast and complicated rhythms.
Start with something easy, instead. Play some really simple three chord songs that are not demanding. You can even sing along.
After some time, your hands will naturally get warmer, due to moving. The key is to keep your hands and fingers moving.
It is the same with body exercising. You don’t go in the gym and start to lift heavy weights straight away. That would be stupid thing to do.
Remember, start slow and simple. Give your hands some time to get warm. It works.
10. Regulate Smoking (If You’re A Smoker)
If you’re a smoker, you know how it feels to smoke a cigarette when your hands are cold. Especially if you like to roll tobaccos.
It gets to the point you’re not able to roll a cigarette due to coldness. Try to cut away smoking when your hands are cold.
When you smoke, your hands are exposed to the outside air. Also, your hands are raised upwards each time you grab a cigarette. That position is decreasing the blood flow in your hands.
11. Change Your Diet
A good, healthy and well-balanced diet can improve your blood circulation significantly. Good blood circulation at the same time means warmer hands.
Healthline.com website has an insightful article about what foods you have to eat in order to improve your blood circulation. Fatty fish, garlic, onions, pepper and so on. Those are all foods that you should put in your diet schedule,
12. Exercise More
Physical exercises improve blood circulation. It doesn’t matter if it’s basketball, football, jogging or anything else, as long as it’s physical fitness for your body.
Make some time for a physical exercises, at least 2 or 3 times a week. You’ll be healthier and you’ll feel better overall. And, most importantly, physical activity will improve blood flow, as it will reduce the blood pressure in your body.
That will make blood come easier and faster in your hands, which will consequently make them warmer.
13. Move More
Again, this is the same principle as it is with physical activity. Our body is meant to move, so don’t sit around too much throughout the day.
Move, walk, stand. The goal is to make your blood flow better. Your hands will be grateful.
14. Hydrate Yourself and Cut Down On Alcohol
Hydration is crucial when it comes to blood circulation. Alcohol drinks don’t do your blood flow a favor. Make sure to drink at least 2 litres of water each day.
15. Take A Warm Bath Before You Play
Warm baths are good both for reducing stress and making your hands warmer. Stress can become a significant factor. Warm bath will make you feel comfortable psychologically.
Also, warm water will expand your veins and arteries. That will give your blood more room to flow throughout your whole body.
Take a warm bath before you play. It will both physically and psychologically prepare you for playing.
16. Take Cold Showers In The Morning
I know this tip may sound contradictory in comparison with previous one, but it’s not. Taking cold showers in the morning can make your heart pump blood more efficiently.
Also, you’ll experience an energy rush throughout your whole body as cold water is falling on you. I know this may be uncomfortable to do, but you’ll get used to it very quickly!
If you comply to these tips described above, you can be sure your hands will be warmer. Cold hands cut away your playing skills. Nobody likes to play with cold hands.
I hope this article gave you some insight about this issue. It is always a pleasure to help a fellow guitar brothers in any way.
Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles I wrote!
Cheers, and rock on!