How to Increase Core Body Temperature

A woman shivering in the park.
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The baseline core temperature for most humans is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body temperature fluctuates throughout the day depending on physical activity, body heat loss and environmental factors. When you're losing body heat at a rapid rate, such as in cold environments or cold water, it's important that you conserve body heat and raise your core temperature to avoid organ failure and even death due to prolonged low body temperature. Basic survival tips help you increase your core body temperature for various situations.

Step 1

Move your body. Exercise increases the temperature of your muscles, which in turn increases your core temperature. While some mistakenly believe that an increased body temperature actually increases exercise performance and results, a study presented at a 2004 conference of "The Physiological Society" found that increased body temperature had no effect on muscular output.


Step 2

Dry off as soon as possible. Your body creates sweat when your internal core temperature becomes too high, since moisture naturally cools your body. The same concept is true should you find yourself wet while in cold weather or sweaty after a strenuous workout. Towel off and find dry clothes to raise your core body temperature again.

Step 3

Drink water to stay hydrated. While water helps cool the body when you're too hot, water also benefits your body when your temperature is too low. This is because when your body is both dehydrated and cold, water is expelled from the body through the process of breathing. When cold air enters your body, you need proper fluid levels to help warm that air so it doesn't lower your core temperature. Drink at least 7 to 10 oz of water for every 10 to 20 minutes of outdoor activity you complete.


Step 4

Gain weight if you're very thin and you plan to participate in outdoor activities in the cold on a long-term basis. Having a higher body fat percentage, while not the healthiest practice, will effectively keep your body insulated to raise your core temperature. The extra layers of subcutaneous fat keep you warmer than if you had a lower body fat percentage. If your weight is normal or heavier than average, however, adding body fat is likely to do you more harm than good.

Step 5

Allow your body to shiver and avoid fighting the process. While your body sweats to cool the body, shivering is the process by which your body increases core temperature through minute muscular movements. While shivering seems bothersome, and its tempting to fight the urge, it is your body's way of naturally regulating your body temperature to a safer level.


Raising your core temperature a bit is a good idea before you work out, particularly when you exercise in cold weather. Don't try to increase your body temperature for any other reason. Raising your core temperature too high can be hazardous to your health.


Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.