7 Best WAYS to improve Circulation
How to improve circulation
If a person wants to improve their circulation, there are some obvious places to start. These include:
- stopping smoking tobacco products
- reducing intake of saturated fats
- trying not to sit still for long periods
In addition, trying one or more of the following may help improve circulation:
1. Maintaining a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight helps promote good circulation. If a person is overweight, it may negatively affect their circulation.
A 2009 study found that losing weight improved circulation for women who were overweight. The participants increased their levels of a protein called adiponectin that is associated with vascular function.
Regular cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, supports the health of the circulatory system and improves circulation.
A 2003 review noted that exercise improves the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen. It also improves the capacity of blood vessels to dilate, which helps them work more efficiently, allowing the muscles to receive oxygen more easily.
These benefits of exercise improve circulation and mean that daily activities may be less tiring.
3. Practicing yoga
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that is easy to modify for beginners. It involves bending, stretching, and twisting. These movements can help to compress and decompress a person’s veins, which may improve circulation.
A 2014 review of evidence published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found yoga was beneficial for the cardiovascular system and a person’s metabolism.
A simple yoga position for beginners to try is the downward-facing dog. This helps improve circulation as it puts the hips and heart above the head, allowing gravity to increase blood flow towards the head.
To do the downward-facing dog, a person should:
- start on all fours, with shoulders above wrists, and hips above knees
- breathe in
- push hips backward and up into the air while exhaling
- straighten the arms and legs
- press firmly into the hands
- breathe deeply, lifting and pressing down each heel in turn to deepen the stretch
- let the neck relax
- stay in position for three deep breaths
- slowly lower hips back into starting position
4. Eating oily fish
The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish promote cardiovascular health and improve circulation, according to this 2013 study.
Oily fish include:
For those who are vegetarian or vegan, kale contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acid.
Supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids are another option for people who do not eat fish. A range of omega-3 supplements is available for purchase in health food stores, pharmacies, and online.
5. Drinking tea
The antioxidants in tea promote cardiovascular health and may improve circulation. This is true for both black tea and green tea.
A 2001 study, published in the journal Circulation, found that black tea improves blood vessel health. Healthy blood vessels help improve circulation.
Another study found that green tea consumption is associated with a lower rate of coronary artery disease.
A range of teas is available for purchase online, including black tea and green tea.
6. Keeping iron levels balanced
|Photo: HB Pharmacy.com|
Iron is an essential mineral for the circulatory system. It is required to make hemoglobin, one of the major components of red blood cells, which is needed to carry oxygen.
Eating foods rich in iron, such as red meat or spinach, helps the body maintain this essential mineral. However, maintaining a healthful balance is necessary as well.
Too much iron may negatively affect cardiovascular health. A 2013 study found a link between having too much iron in the body and cardiovascular disease in people with high cholesterol and higher waist circumference measurements, cites medicalnewstoday.com.
Iron supplements are available for purchase online.
7. Three-minute circulation booster
Exercise doesn’t need to be time-consuming. To get your blood pumping, try this three-minute circulation booster. Try adding it to an activity you already (waiting for your morning tea to brew, for example) do so that it becomes a habit
- Start marching on the spot for 20 marches. Keep your shoulders pulled back, back straight, stomach muscles pulled in.
- Continue marching, adding shoulder rolls – lift both shoulders to your ears, then back and forwards, for 20 counts.
- Finish with 10 alternating knee lifts, bringing each knee up to your opposite elbow.
Remember that if you have an existing circulatory problem speak to your doctor before trying new forms of exercise or increasing activity levels. “Very high intensity exercise could reduce the amount the oxygen reaching your heart, or another part of your body, which could be damaging,” warns Registered Nurse, Sarah.
However, “Done properly, people with circulation problems have even more to gain from regular exercise than the rest of the population.”
More ways to improve circulation naturally
|While exercise is really important to protect yourself from heart and circulatory problems, there are plenty of other lifestyle changes you can make to improve, prevent or even reverse poor circulation, and give your overall health a boost. The chances are they’ll also leave you looking and feeling great, so all the more reason to give them a go!|
- Not smoking, or quitting smoking if you do
- Eating a heart-healthy diet – “that means one that’s high in fibre, low in salt (no more than 6g of salt/2.4g of sodium per day – equivalent to one teaspoon) and low in sugar,” explains Rita. “You should also try to include lots of different fruits and vegetables and limit you intake of saturated (animal) fats – replacing these with unsaturated (omega 3 and 6) fats where possible.”
“Having a healthy diet is one of the best ways to boost heart health and prevent circulatory disease in the future, because you’ll be less likely to be overweight or obese, or to develop high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and type 2 diabetes – all of which are major risk factors for CVD.”7 For help with this, take a look at our article Ten ways to develop healthy eating habits.
- If you’re diabetic, keeping blood sugar levels to normal limits – Adults with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to develop heart and circulatory diseases. “This is due to the high levels of glucose present in the blood stream, which can make the red blood cells “sticky” and cause them to build up together along the walls of the blood vessels, forming clots,” says Rita. “This can build up over time, leading to high blood pressure as more force is required for the blood to pass through, which in turn can cause damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels.”
You can reduce – or even reverse - that risk by careful management of your blood sugar levels, through lifestyle factors, medication or a combination of both. Our article How to curb your enthusiasm for sugar may help, states axahealth.co.uk.
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