Are you turning into a couch potato? If you are like a majority of Americans, life has changed significantly, and you’re trying to keep up. Most of us have had to make a shift from participating in active social, business, and family lives outside the home to working from, exercising in, and staying at home. Watching movies and working from your laptop are entirely acceptable ways to deal with the situation. But it’s essential not to let yourself get too sedentary and to take good care of your body and keep your blood circulation flowing.
Every part of your body is made up of cells. All of your bones, tissues, organs, muscles…everything. To keep your body working at an optimal level, those cells need fuel. Where do they get fuel? From your blood. How does the blood get to the cells? Your circularity system.
Fun Fact: The human body contains about 60,000 miles of blood vessels.
How the Circulatory System Works
Your circulatory system carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body via veins, arteries, and capillaries. The blood pumps freshly oxygenated blood through coronary arteries all the way out to your toes and fingers. When the blood gets to the cells, it exchanges fuel for waste, and the veins carry the waste back towards the heart and the cardiovascular system.
If your blood circulation is poor or slows down, your cells won’t get the fuel that they need, and the waste products will back up.
Signs of poor blood circulation include:
- Cold or numb feet and hands
- A blue tinge to your legs (if you have light skin)
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss, especially on the feet and legs
- Difficulty getting or keeping an erection.
- For those who have diabetes: scrapes, sores, and wounds tend to heal slower
12 Ways to Support Healthy Blood Circulation
Circulation of the blood plays a crucial part in the body’s function as well as an essential role in your overall health. Here are 12 tips on how to keep your circulation healthy.
We know that this may be easier said than done, especially during stressful times. But nicotine harms your artery walls and thickens your blood so much that it can’t get through. If you smoke, invest in your health, and quit.
Manage Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can lead to arteriosclerosis. This condition hardens your arteries and chokes off blood flow. You’ll want to check with your doctor about what the best blood pressure measurements are for your age, but 120 over 80 or less is typically a good target number. You can check your blood pressure at home with a blood pressure monitor. Kiosks are also available at your pharmacy and can be used after this period of social distancing has passed.
Hydrate, of Course
Because blood is made up of nearly 50% water, you need to stay hydrated to keep it flowing. Eight glasses of water a day is usually enough, but you will need to drink more when you exercise or if it’s hot outside.
Sitting for hours at a time is hard on your blood circulation and your back. Sitting slows the blood flow in your legs and weakens leg muscles, which could cause a blood clot. If you’re doing a lot of sitting while you work, find a way to stand instead. Even if you can’t get a standing desk, take breaks to stand up and walk around to get the valves in your leg veins moving, which will send blood up to your heart.
Relax, Twist, Invert
Yoga is an excellent low-impact exercise that jump-starts blood flow. Anytime you move, it brings oxygen to your cells. Doing twists sends blood to your organs. Inverted (upside-down) positions move blood from the bottom half of your body up to your heart and brain.
Legs up the Wall
Even if you aren’t a yogi, you may find relief in a simple yoga pose called legs-up-the-wall (Viparita Karani). If you lie on the floor with your legs up the wall (and your buttocks as close to the wall as possible), your blood will move away from your feet and back toward your heart. This really helps your veins get the blood moving in the right direction and eases foot and ankle swelling.
Aerobic exercise like running, biking, walking, and swimming not only brings in more oxygen, but it helps the oxygen get to your muscles. Getting your blood pumping makes your heart stronger and lowers your blood pressure. Exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 to 7 days a week should do it. If you need to, you can break up the time into smaller chunks.
Doing squats gets your blood pumping, can lower your blood sugar, and help with back pain. For additional information on how to do a squat correctly check out Squats For Beginners: How to do a Squat Correctly
Wear Compression Socks
Compression socks are specially designed socks that gently squeeze your legs to assist your blood on its journey back up to your heart. There are a wide variety of designs, lengths, and levels of compression. Consulting with a doctor is the best way to determine which socks will best meet your needs.
Eat More Plants
There’s never a downside to eating a balanced diet. Packing your diet with fruits and vegetables and avoiding saturated fats found in red meat, chicken, cheese, and other animal sources is a great way to keep your arteries clear and your blood flowing.
Dry Brush Your Body
You can help sweep your blood in the right direction by using a body brush with stiff, flat bristles on dry skin. You can learn more about dry brushing and how to do it on Mindbodygreen.
Warm Water: Sip It or Soak In It
Although results are temporary, a bath can kick-start your circulation. The warm water can dilate arteries and veins, which lets more blood through. Drinking hot water or tea does the trick as well.
The relationship you have with your body is a reciprocal one. You take care of it, and it takes care of you. And we are here to take care of you too! For advice diagnosis or treatment contact us for an appointment today!
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