6 ways to improve circulation
Photo: MedicalNewsToday.com

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.

2. Jogging

6 ways to improve circulation
Photo: Healthline

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

6 ways to improve circulation
Photo: WebMD.com

The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish promote cardiovascular health and improve circulation, according to this 2013 study.

Oily fish include:

  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • sardines
  • tuna

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

6 ways to improve circulation
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
    6 ways to improve circulation
    Photo: HelpGuide.org
    According to the NHS, smoking doubles your risk of having both a heart attack and a stroke. If you smoke, you also have twice the risk of dying from either of these events than someone who has never smoked. However, you can start to reverse this damage from the moment you quit, so it’s never too late to try. According to the NHS’ Smokefree website, after only one year of not smoking, your risk of heart attack is reduced by half and after 15 years, your risk is similar to that of a lifetime non-smoker. And within two years of stopping smoking, your risk of stroke is reduced to half that of a smoker and within five years it will be the same as a non-smoker.
  • 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.

Best WAYS to Lose Weight by Doing Exercise? Best WAYS to Lose Weight by Doing Exercise?

Aside from dieting, exercising is one of the most common strategies employed by those trying to shed extra pounds. It burns calories, and this plays ...

9 Easy and Quick Ways to Cure Garlic/ Onion Breath 9 Easy and Quick Ways to Cure Garlic/ Onion Breath

Onions and garlic are known to be the main ingredients in every family's meal and play an important role in adding flavours to the dishes. ...

9 Easy and Quick Ways to Cure Alcohol Breath 9 Easy and Quick Ways to Cure Alcohol Breath

Knowing how to get alcohol off your breath or what covers alcohol breath isn't easy. In fact, if you want to do more than just ...