Whether it’s bulky sweaters, hot beverages, or lots of layers, humans have always done whatever we can to stay warm in the winter. But not all heating methods are the same: travel around the world and you’ll find some unique, even surprising, strategies for dealing with frigid temps. Check out these cold-weather hacks from across the globe!
In Japan, where houses are often built from lighter, less-insulating materials, the kotatsu table is an essential way to keep warm. This table comes with a built-in heater and blankets for everyone to snuggle in and enjoy one another’s company. A kotatsu is well suited for Japan’s group-oriented culture.
While spas and bathhouses are widespread in many cultures, in frigid countries like Russia, a trip to the sauna (known as a banya) is a popular balm against the bitter cold. Saunas aren’t just relaxing, but spending time in all that heat can help raise body temperature.
While many U.S. homes use central heating, traditional Korean homes warm up with heated floors. An ancient system referred to as ondal, the heat is generated using hot stones that lie underneath the floor. Architects are trying to replicate this cozy feature for more modern homes using updated technology.
Yep, you read right. It may seem counterintuitive, but in countries like Sweden and Norway, folks make sure to stay active during the cold months with brisk walks and skiing. Going outside to exercise gets the blood pumping and helps boost mood, vital for when the temperature drops and life starts to feel a bit dreary.
In Northern China, you can still find homes with kang stove beds. Usually made of bricks, these raised platform beds are heated up during the colder months and used for lounging and sleeping. Nowadays, kang beds are usually heated by a furnace. Traditionally, however, residents used the heat from an adjoining cooking stove to warm up the beds (talk about killing two birds with one stone!).