10 Ways to Improve Circulation at Home
Signs of Poor Blood Circulation
Do you ever experience tingling, numbness, muscle cramping, swelling, throbbing, cold extremities or have varicose veins in your legs? If you do, explore these seven signs and symptoms that can point to poor blood circulation.
If you do experience any of these symptoms, not to worry! There are things that can help improve your circulation. So what can you do? Here are some tips to help improve your circulation, but first and foremost, you should always discuss your signs, symptoms and concerns with your primary care physician.
10 Ways to Improve Blood Circulation at Home
1. Compression Stockings
Did you know that wearing compression socks on a daily basis can help promote better circulation in legs by helping venous flow move out of the legs more easily? The pressure from the stockings assists in pushing venous flow up to your heart, and if you have varicose veins, they can also help prevent your legs from getting sore and tired.
But what if you’re sitting for long periods of time? Compression socks can even help there! Did you know if you wear compression stockings when flying or lying down for extended periods of time it can help reduce the risk of a blood clot? They can also assist in reducing swelling in the legs and ankles throughout the day. Discover more benefits of wearing compression stockings.
2. Quit Smoking
As I’m sure you know, smoking is bad for your health. We always hear about smoking as it relates to our lungs, but did you know it can also cause your ankles and feet to swell from poor circulation? As you continue to smoke, blood vessels narrow, limiting arterial blood flow and causing a dramatic decrease in the oxygen and nutrients able to reach your cells, this in turn, can cause swelling in your feet and ankles. Speak with your primary care physician about the best way for you to quit smoking. Some options include hypnotherapy, nicotine patches, herbal cigarettes or possibly just quitting cold turkey!
A great way to improve circulation in the feet and body is to do some light stretches every day. Stretching can be done while sitting down as well as standing and improves blood circulation. Not only can it help with your circulation, it can also help enhance your mood and even increase your flexibility. Who knows, you may even learn to do a backbend!
It is easy to forget about our posture as we move throughout the day, however, proper posture when sitting and standing can actually help improve circulation. Do you have a habit of crossing your legs over your knees? Does it feel more comfortable to have your feet off the ground? If so, you are not alone! Unfortunately, the pressure put in a single location on the leg when crossing your legs can actually impede blood flow in your circulatory system. Try instead, to use a footrest, or focus on keep your shoulders back and your feet flat on the floor.
Not only can proper posture help with circulation, but did you know that research has shown that proper posture can also help with better breathing because you are able to deeply fill your lungs, improve your mood, optimize digestion, reduce headaches, and even help prevent backaches and muscular pain? Who knew!?
5. Managing Your Stress Levels
Stress affects us all! But did you know that how you manage the stressful moments in your life can actually affect your blood circulation? As we become stressed, our cortisol levels spike, which, over time can actually cause us to gain weight, stressing our circulatory system.
So what can we do? Try finding a stress management technique that works uniquely for you! Whether it is playing soccer, singing, listening to music, lifting weights, vacuuming or reading a book, find the most effective way of managing your stress.
Here is a stress management tip we can all get behind! Massage is a wonderful treatment for poor circulation throughout your body. Did you know that the pressure and tissue manipulation from massage actually moves lactic acid out of your muscles allowing for improved blood flow? Additionally, lymph fluid is circulated which can help reduce swelling. With muscles becoming less tense, and you feeling a bit more relaxed, massages can even result in the lowering of your blood pressure.
No time for a professional massage? No worries! At home devices, such as a massage chair or hand held massage device can be beneficial as well!
7. Elevating Your Legs
An easy way to multitask and help your circulation when you are sitting or lying down is to elevate your legs. When your feet are raised above your heart, it helps your lymph fluid, as well as venous flow make it way back to the proper locations. When sleeping, try putting a pillow under your feet and knees. If you are sitting, use a footstool, or place your feet on the armrest of the couch.
Let’s be serious for a minute. Do you stay hydrated on a daily basis? Did you know it is recommended that we drink half our body weight in ounces? I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of not drinking enough water! Water, however, is crucial to our physical and mental health. Water flushes toxins out of your body and can even ease anxiety. When you are dehydrated, it can cause your blood pressure to drop, which creates a disruption in the nutrients and oxygen your organs need to operate. Are you reaching for your water dispenser?
9. Black Tea
We have all heard of the health benefits of green tea, but who knew that black tea had benefits all its own? In a study done by Boston University School of Medicine, it was found that patients with heart disease, who consumed 4 cups of black tea per day, for 30 days, showed a great improvement in their circulatory system. In combination with a healthy diet and exercise the flavonoids in the black tea helped dilate arteries, thin the blood, and lower blood pressure. Who would have thought? This definitely helps justify my weekly trip to the local coffee shop!
We all live hectic lives, and it can be hard to fit in time to take care of ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have to get up early or stay up late to get in a proper workout routine! While walking or running can be great ways to increase blood flow, particularly in our legs, there are many things we can do even if we are stuck in one location, be it due to injury or even work. Here is a list of low impact stretches and exercises that can improve blood flow, help lower blood pressure and possibly make you feel better too!
- Heel toe raises
- Single leg stands
- Knee to chest pulls
- Calf stretches
- Ankle rotation
- Heel toe raises
- Butt clenches
When Lying Down
- Leg Lifts
- Ankle flexion or pumps
- Knee bends
Do you suffer from symptoms such as achiness, heaviness, itching, muscle cramping, restless legs or varicose veins? While all of these at home tips can temporarily help with your circulation, if you have any of these symptoms, it may indicate a larger problem that may need to be addressed. Speak to your primary care physician about varicose veins and seek out a vein specialist to see if they can treat your venous circulatory issues at their root cause.