Circulation is vital to the health of your entire body. However, we are guessing circulation is not something you find yourself thinking about too often unless you find your feet falling asleep.
There are many people who suffer from chronic blood circulation issues, and for them, thoughts about circulation are almost always there.
Your body is constantly circulating fluids throughout your body, most importantly blood. In fact, about 5 quarts of blood is pumped through your body’s blood vessels every minute, thanks to your heart.
As your blood circulates throughout your body, it delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells and helps get rid of excess waste products in your system.
So, when you have poor circulation, that means your blood isn’t flowing through your system as efficiently, and you can end up suffering from a variety of issues, including numbness, bloating, or decreased energy.
If any of these things sound familiar, then we’ve got just what you need.
How to Improve Your Circulation:
Getting out and moving is good for our body, but it also helps so many other areas of our physical and mental health! We recommend mild to moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day. And for many of us, the best thing to encourage healthy blood flow is easy and accessible: walking. Here are a few tips for incorporating exercise into your daily routines:
- Take an after-dinner walk with friends and/or family
- Start a “walk club” (or bike, or running, or swimming club) in your neighborhood
- Volunteer at a shelter to walk dogs
- Earn extra money walking dogs using one of several apps
- Schedule exercise time as you would a conference call, your kids’ school drop off, or an important work meeting
2. Get a massage
Another great way to improve circulation is to get a message. Not only can a massage bring you great relaxation and relief from the stresses of your life, but it can also stimulate your body’s blood flow.
Massages help promote healthy circulation by helping move blood and lymph fluid through your limbs, in the same way walking and exercise do. Additionally, regular massages can decrease stress, improve flexibility and immune function, reduce pain, and help you sleep better. Messages in particular help to encourage lymph fluid to flow through the lymph vessels which improve the immune system and how it functions.
3. Drink lots of water
It is estimated that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration is one of the most preventable medical conditions in the world. The benefits of drinking water are huge and are beyond thirst.
Benefits of Water:
- Carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells
- Flushes bacteria from your bladder
- Helps aid in digestion
- Prevents constipation
- Normalizes blood pressure
- Stabilizes the heartbeat
- Cushions the joins
- Protects organs and tissues
- Regulates body temperature
- Maintains electrolyte balance
- Promotes healthy circulation
In general, men should consume around 131 ounces while women should consume around 95 ounces of water each day.
Tips for drinking enough water:
- Focus on fluids, not just water, which include milk, tea, broth
- Carry a bottle filled with cold water wherever you go
- Drink water when you eat
- Drink a glass of water prior to, and following an alcoholic beverage
- Add flavor to your water by adding fruit, herbs, or sugar free naturally-derived flavor drops
Also, be sure to spread out your fluid intake throughout the day, this way, your body can steadily process your intake, rather than be stressed by it.
4. Learn to Manage Stress
Experts refer to stress as the “silent killer”, it is estimated that it is the cause of more than 60% of all human illnesses and diseases, including cardiovascular, and therefore circulatory disease. What is also known as the “fight or flight” reaction occurs in moments of acute stress.
Although our ancestors used this reaction for survival, in today’s times, we often activate it too easily, too often, with sometimes fatal consequences. Learning to manage stress is important to your overall health, including your circulation, and the healing process following vein procedures.
Tips for managing stress:
- Get a massage
- Consume a healthy diet, limiting sugar and processed foods
- Get plenty of sleep
- Employ relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing
- Make time for hobbies and socializing with friends
- Identify your stress triggers and work on eliminating them
- Plan your day, week, month
5. Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids promote cardiovascular health and improve circulation. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of omega-3 fatty acids per week. If you can’t consume the recommended amount, you can also consider a high-quality supplement.
The following are foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids:
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, herring, lake trout, and sardines)
- Cod liver oil
- Flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
6. Elevate your legs
Most patients with varicose vein disease realize that their legs feel better when elevated. During the day, many of us sit for extended periods of time. Sitting and standing can cause blood to pool in the veins of the legs which leads to swelling, cramping, pain, restlessness, itching, and fatigue. Elevating your legs just 20 minutes a day can help improve circulation and relieve these symptoms.
The key is to elevate your legs above your heart such as laying on the couch, floor, or bed, and placing several pillows under your legs so they are straight and at an angle with your feet at the highest point. Alternatively, you can place a small pillow under your lower back while laying on the floor, near a wall. Then, straighten your legs up the wall, leaving as little room between your butt and the wall as possible. Once you reach this position, relax your arms by your sides, breathe and relax for as long as possible, preferably 10-20 minutes. Bonus: this pose can also be a relaxation technique!
7. Wear Compression Socks
Graduated compression socks can also help manage varicose vein disease. That’s because compression socks are tightest at the ankle and gradually decrease in compression as the socks extend up. While wearing compression socks the calf muscle pump, such as walking, or just passively flexes your foot, and the sock “massages” the leg, improving circulation in those with poor circulation due to chronic venous insufficiency or varicose vein disease, and assist with the continued circulation in those with healthy veins. Compression socks are suggested for long car rides and flights, during exercises such as running, and when standing all day. Discover more tips for using compression socks to help with your varicose veins.
And today’s compression socks come in a multitude of colors, patterns, materials, and styles (socks, pantyhose, knee-high stockings, compression sleeves).
8. Cut back on alcohol
Moderate alcohol consumption can be okay for your body, but be sure you know how to define what “moderate” means. For most, that means no more than two drinks.
Learn more about the negative effects alcohol has on your vein health.
Drinking any more than that can lead to your arteries hardening, which hinders your body’s ability to let blood flow properly.
With just a few minutes of basic stretching a couple of times a day, you can drastically improve your circulation. Stretching works to increase blood flow to your body’s tissues and organs.
A majority of people spend their days sitting at a desk in the same position, which as you know, can cause a whole slew of problems.
Making an effort to get up regularly, walk around, and stretch can help fight circulation issues, as well as many other problems that result from spending too much time sitting.
Improving circulation is key to vein health and comfort. By adding 1 or 2 of these into your every routine per week you can improve your vein health and leg pain. Choose the options that fit best into your life. Let’s make the new year all about well-being and great circulation.
Interested in reading more about circulation? Explore our collection of circulation topics.
- CAN FOODS IMPROVE BLOOD CIRCULATION IN THE LEGS?
- 5 EXERCISES FOR VEIN DISEASE
- CAN VEIN DISEASE CAUSE POOR CIRCULATION IN FEET?
Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Yan Katsnelson is a philanthropist, business owner, and highly skilled cardiac surgeon. He is the Founder and CEO of USA Vein Clinics, which is part of USA Clinics Group, the parent company of USA Fibroid Centers, USA Vascular Centers, and USA Oncology Centers, with more than 100 facilities nationwide. Dr. Yan has established himself as a strong advocate for accessibility and affordability of the most advanced medical care close to home. His mission is to create a positive experience for each patient with compassionate, personalized, and expert care.