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I am a programmer and sit at a computer ten hours a day - and even though the rest of me is nice and warm, my fingers are as cold as ice.

Are there any gadgets or tricks to keep your fingers warm while typing/mousing? Gloves do not seem like a good solution, since it hinders the movement of the fingers.

I have sometimes put my extra laptop next to the mouse pad so that it vents hot air on the mouse - and that works. However it is not very practical, plus it only works for one hand (and not very well).

closed as primarily opinion-based by slhck Dec 13 '13 at 14:58

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I would love a device that would pump CPU heat to my keyboard, which is an aluminum keyboard for a Mac. If you think about it, the computer generates excess heat which I would love on my hands, but it seems counterproductive to generate more heat with a handwarmer, etc. – emgee Oct 13 '09 at 20:34
  • My favourite question, ever. I always suffer from this and remedy it with constant mugs of hot drinks. – Joel Oct 21 '09 at 17:11
  • 3
    @Christopher - other than by holding hot food, I don't see the gain. You're surely not suggesting eating enough to build a thick layer of insulating blubber on the fingers? For one thing, fingers that thick would cause problems when typing rather like gloves that can't be removed. – Steve314 Dec 5 '11 at 6:44
  • 2
    You can purchase "glove liners" used by cyclists. These are very thin, very warm gloves that do not hinder finger movement at all (though they will make the fingertips a bit slippery on the keyboard). And of course you could use fingerless gloves similar to what cyclists use -- buy the cyclist gloves or make them yourselves. – Daniel R Hicks May 9 '12 at 11:55
  • 1
    Could this be moved to Lifehacks and reopened? – Sidney Apr 11 '16 at 14:52

32 Answers 32

46

Maybe you can use something like an USB powered hand warmer.

Although, I would try to solve the underlying problem. Cold fingers usually mean bad circulation there. Do you smoke? Perhaps you should move your chair or change your keyboard so that your blood flow is not restricted?

  • 27
    (A +1 one for the circulation, not for the hand warmer... The circulation could certainly be caused by things that will develop into RSI some day.) – Arjan Oct 8 '09 at 11:06
  • 3
    Blood circulation can be boosted by waving and shaking your hands. – Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Oct 8 '09 at 11:29
  • What does RSI mean? – Kjensen Oct 8 '09 at 11:48
  • 9
  • I'm a programmer too. If practical, start biking to work. The problem with desk work like this is not enough exercise. – Matt H Oct 1 '12 at 20:30
44

Have you tried these?

alt text

  • 8
    How friggin awesome is that?! – Kjensen Oct 21 '09 at 23:16
  • 2
    You'd also get pretty great at touch typing too as you couldn't look at the keys. Double bonus. – Matthew Lock Nov 15 '13 at 0:58
  • Obviously this is the best solution. – MGodby Oct 21 '15 at 20:31
  • Hahaha this is the funniest thing I've seen all day... my immediate thought, as someone who loathes the mouse, is how much more enraged it would make me at badly designed software which forces you on occasion (or sometimes all..the..time, grrrrr) to use a mouse. Also I'd have to get it in something other than orange... – mike rodent Feb 9 '16 at 19:13
31

I had similar problems a while ago and as many have pointed out, this is a circulation issue. The simple solution is: sport.

About a year ago, I started running regularly to recover from a surgery. Not only did it improve my well-being in general, but it also solved the cold hands issue and the blackouts when standing up. You don't have to do much, but a little workout will make you feel better. And who knows, you might even grow to like it.

  • +1. A hand warmer treats the symptom, whereas exercise treats the cause - and will make you healthier. As someone who prefers being indoors and finds exercise extremely boring, what worked for me was to buy an exercise bike; now I can be fitter in the comfort of my own home, and watch TV at the same time! – Steve Melnikoff Oct 27 '11 at 10:05
  • 1
    @Paperflyer With blackouts, do you mean you get dizzy when standing up? If so, I might want to start exercising. – Stijn Nov 26 '12 at 12:15
  • @Stijn yes, that is what I mean. – bastibe Nov 26 '12 at 21:27
  • 6
    I workout 3-5 days a week and still get ice cold hands. Some people just have this. – skerit Feb 5 '15 at 10:50
  • I agree, getting in shape will help with circulation but it's not the silver bullet for me. I play ice hockey 5+ hours per week and still get cold hands (and feet). Some people just can't sit for periods without getting cold limbs -- definitely stand up, do a jumping jack and or stretch and touch your toes a few times. – kingdango Mar 26 '15 at 17:02
24

Pushups, just one or two every 15 minutes, if you can do it without your coworkers thinking you're mad. Otherwise, tighten your abs while you work. This will heat up your whole body, including your fingers.

  • 3
    Great tip! I'm working from home, so coworkers are not a problem... – awe Oct 9 '09 at 10:35
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    Sure thing! Even better would be to put up a chin-up bar in one of your doorways. Even though it might take you months to accomplish one, chin-ups require a lot more finger work to grip the bar. For the fitness side of this, please check out cbass.com/Pavel%27sLadders.htm – Dan Rosenstark Oct 10 '09 at 10:50
11

When it gets cold in my office (cheap building with leaky walls and windows) I wear knitted fingerless gloves. A bit awkward, and the tips of my fingers still get cold, but they do help a lot.

  • +1 these rock. you can get fleece instead of knitted if preferred. – quack quixote Oct 8 '09 at 12:15
  • 8
    I've used my sailing gloves on occasion. My fingertips are uncovered, the rest of my hand is warm, and I'm immediately ready to pull really hard on a cable if necessary. – David Thornley Oct 8 '09 at 15:52
  • The upshot of this is they're also really comfy :3 – Phoshi Oct 8 '09 at 18:37
  • And help me daydream of being on a sailboat rather than in the office. – David Thornley Oct 8 '09 at 19:46
  • I buy the cheap thin knit gloves at Walmart or Target and snip just the tips off. If you go as far as sealing the fingertips with fraycheck they last a long time. I haven't found any fleece ones that are snug enough to use for typing but they would be perfect since fleece doesn't fray. – Zooks64 Oct 8 '09 at 21:12
8

Get up and walk around every half hour to hour. That also helps improve circulation, increases blood flow, and wakes you up too. If there is a stairway, go up and down one flight of stairs on your walk.

7

Maybe drink tea of coffee, the warm mug can help you to keep your fingers alive..

  • 5
    You forgot to mention, "use both hands" :) – vpram86 Oct 8 '09 at 12:15
  • I am drinking loads of coffee, but my fingers still gets cold... – awe Oct 9 '09 at 10:27
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    Caffeine is vasoconstricting, which means it reduces the blood flow in the extremities and thus makes your fingers even colder. femail.com.au/caffeine.htm – brandstaetter Oct 9 '09 at 11:56
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    So you can try Tea.. It's better for your body, full of antioxidizer.. – bAN Oct 9 '09 at 16:23
  • This is a great suggestion, but I think it would be even better if, when the coffee gets to a slightly lower temperature, you dip your fingers in before each sip. This is disgusting, but it will cause you to wash your hands a lot, and with warm water. This will heat them up :) – Dan Rosenstark Oct 10 '09 at 10:48
5

My short-term fix for cold hands is washing with hot water. It feels great. :)

5

Gloves. 'Take a good, hard look at your first revision and just say to yourself, "Gloves".'

;).

3

Small, portable space heaters often do the trick. Set one on your desk positioned so it will blow across your keyboard (preferably an external keyboard and not the keyboard attached to your laptop).

  • 3
    Your sysadmin (or whoever is responsible for power at your place) will hate you if you do this. Those portable space heaters use a horrendous amount of power. Great way to start tripping circuit breakers all over the place. – Brian Knoblauch Oct 8 '09 at 15:37
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    Then too bad for them. Power services' job description isn't "minimize the amount of work I have to do". – hyperslug Oct 9 '09 at 8:38
  • I have this problem with cold fingers, but I also have problems with dry skin, and this does not help on that... – awe Oct 9 '09 at 10:32
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    We have old wiring in the office and space heaters are the number one cause of tripped breakers. I've got all my equipment on UPS, so in the cold months especially, I've got to run to the panel to reset breakers before my UPSes give out. – emgee Oct 13 '09 at 20:29
3

It's a circulation thing. Let me guess - you have your arm below the desk? Try moving your mouse further away and keeping your arm a bit higher.

Of course, it could just be that it's cold wherever you are, in which case I'd invest in a nice pair of gloves :)

  • Wouldn't it be better if the arms are lower rather than higher? – Brian Knoblauch Oct 8 '09 at 15:36
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    lower than your heart, but if your elbow is significantly lower than your hand, circulation goes a bit :( – Phoshi Oct 8 '09 at 16:42
3

Perhaps fingerless gloves?

3

Heated keyboards and mice exist. e.g.: http://www.richsoil.com/electric-heat.jsp

  • Very useful! They also mention using reptile headers – Sarah Northway May 2 '15 at 2:50
2

I hope you will not be continously working for 10 hours. So while thinking on work, just rub your hands together. Repeat it whenever you think while working! It will keep your hand and fingers a little warmer :)

2

Increase the ambient temperature or put on a sweater... when your body is cool/cold, your extremities (fingers, for example) will be cold.

  • My body is warm, but my fingers are cold - especially on the mouse hand. – awe Oct 9 '09 at 10:29
2

I would also suggest getting the circulation in your hands checked by a doctor. Assuming that it is OK, I would suggest getting a pair of fingerless gloves. I doubt you need anything heavy, even a thin pair of fingerless cotton gloves would be enough. I've heard of church organists wearing them (not for warmth, but to keep oil from their skin from getting on the organ). I don't have your problem so I can give a personal recommendation, but a quick google of fingerless gloves turned up several listings.

2

You might try breathing deeper. Shallow breath may lead to cold hands and fingers. Breath slower but deeper for a couple of minutes and see if it makes a difference.

2

go to thermorest.net They have a heated wrist rest that eliminated my cold hands and fingers. Been using it for 3 years now and it works great. Still looks like new and my carpal tunnel symptoms are gone.

2

If you have a slide out shelf for the keyboard and mouse:

Using a piece of good quality floor vinyl made up a mouse pad 9 inches by 12 inches. With four small nails secure each corner of the vinyl mat to the wooden shelf.

Then purchase for a pet shop a Heat Wave terrarium substrate heater. (These are used for reptiles) The pad being paper-thin simply slides under the mouse vinyl pad. When switched on it generates a gentle warmth that heats the vinyl pad. This keeps the mouse pad area warm but not too hot.

1

Do you have a mild form of Reynaud's Syndrome? I used to get cold fingers playing the guitar sometimes, and traced it to possible mild R.S.

1

I usually put my hands under the office hand dryer - periodically. It really helps for a while.....

  • I wash my hands under water slightly warmer than I normally use, warm water has a lot more heat than warm air, warms up faster. – Rich Homolka Mar 25 '11 at 15:57
1

I use a small heating pad that I secure with clips to the desk so that it is not directly under the keyboard. I also have it placed more to the right so that my hands are warm while using the mouse also. When I am not typing or clicking, my hands are resting on the heating pad. I also purchased a heated foot mat. That helps alot.

  • I think we need pics of that! :) – Kjensen Oct 14 '09 at 12:46
1

If you know someone that knits, ask them to make you some fingerless gloves. Also, many malls sell small herbal bags that are inexpensive and could be heated in the microwave. Heat it and set a small one under your hand near your mouse. It will keep it warmer. Checking for circulation is important, but so is taking regular breaks. Try several ways and see what works. Also, if you sew, make a small bag of 100% cotton and fill it with dried beans or dried rice. This heats well in the microwave and can be used often. Put it near your mouse and warm your hands when necessary. Very inexpensive and it works for me.

1

One workaround is to use the heat from other body parts, like by keeping your hands under your thighs.

You can improve circulation by just keeping your hands and fingers straight or by applying some light muscle tone. I often do something like extend my hands, press my shoulders downwards, and grab or press something lightly.

Then, this might be a little offbeat, but I often focus on my hands when meditating (in addition to the usual breathing). It's possible to make them warmer, and it also helps to pay attention to the position and movement of your hands typing, etc.

1

I just discovered you can actually use the mouse pad with gloves, you just have to slightly dampen he fingertip of your glove which allows the electrical potential to still exist and your mouse pad will detect the movement.

Do not actually wet, you just need the tiniest drop of water :)

1

Just made my own hand heater, it feels so nice, though this version is not so safe, suggest using a heavy container for the tea lights so that its stable. I wonder why i didn't do this earlier, been coping with cold hand for so long. http://i.imgur.com/rvduMMM.jpg

1

Get a couple of 50W bulbs, preferably with stands or just use the regular small lampstands and keep one on either side of the keyboard, as close as possible above the hands.

0

Getting cold feet (and fingers)? Warm them up with these tips from Brian Harrington, a family physician with a practice in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

  • Put them in warm water. Water conducts heat 25 times faster than air.
  • Let a pal with warm hands rub yours.
  • Stay hydrated. This helps incease the volume of blood flowing to your digits.
  • Don't smoke. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and prevents blood form reaching your extremities.

Warming Up Hands & Feet

I also agree with a previous comment, using a space heater uses a lot of amps, especially if you already have quite a few computers or electronic devices in the same circuit, these babies will trip breakers quite often.

0

Gloves might be a little extreme, as they make using the keyboard and mouse hard, but if you do go that route I've found that running gloves are quite good since they are nice and thin and give you more control over the mouse & keyboard.

  • Non-padded cycling gloves might also work then. – Brian Knoblauch Oct 28 '09 at 20:18
0

You can use hand warmers but the best is to make sure there is no constriction on the skin - usually impossible with gloves thanks to sloppy design. An arctic explorer once said if you want warm hands your hands should fit in your mitts like a car is parked in a garage. Lots of room! One way is to get some mitts and cut off the thumb and area right around the first joints of the fingers. It would allow finger mobility and keep your hands as warm as possible if you don't use the solution below which is far superior. Remember that the mitt still goes between your thumb and fingers. That keeps its in place otherwise it will just slide up your hand away from your fingers.

This only works of course if you don't have to look at the keys....duh. I'm assuming most of you know how to type...lol. And you could always make the top out of glass to clear that little hurdle. The ambient temperature in my place was often below 10C/50F and I had to type. I'm curious as to what your temperature was. I just got a box slightly bigger than my keyboard/mouse and plopped it on top. The front of the box was cut out. I draped a blanket over it (ideally line the inside of the box with Styrofoam or other insulator so the heat from your hands and wrists is not wasted) and let the blanket drape over the front. The blanket will conform around your wrists giving a pretty good seal. Put something soft on the top of the desk, not only for comfort for your forearms but also for heat retention. You probably won't even need a heater in there as the skin radiates a surprising amount of heat. You could get some dryer ducting (about 4" in diameter) and attach that to the output fan of your PC case. That can exhaust into the box. Your hands might start to sweat! Another option for heat (say in the morning) is to use a hot water bottle. Or even just a bowl of hot water. Just make sure its not going to spill!

I've been trying to design some sort of poncho thing that would drape over the desk and around the chair. Getting in and out easily is the challenge. But that would allow one to work in perfect comfort in temperatures below freezing. It would allow people to really save on their heating bills in winter. Position the desk for sunlight if you're not using double/triple pane (which block out a LOT Of the sun's heat) windows.

If you want to be healthy, you need fresh air. And if you want to save money on heating costs, fresh air is mighty expensive. The answer is to sit right at the fresh air source for the room so your area has the best quality of air. The poncho thing would allow computer users to work in a fresh air environment almost any place on the planet.

Think about this: We have an energy source (often dirty coal or dangerous nuclear) that gives us electricity that heats an element that heats the air that heats our skin. The sun can shine right on the skin and bypass all those stages. Passive solar is the future. We just waste about 99% of it presently. Every house should be oriented to grab that free sunshine.

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