Circulation, or the flow of blood throughout our bodies, is important for good health. Normal circulation promotes all of our biological systems by delivering oxygen throughout the body and helping to eliminate waste. When circulation is inadequate, or the blood does not flow vigorously, symptoms can include tired or heavy legs, cold fingers and toes as well as low energy and even dull skin. An easy way to boost circulation is with exercise. When you get your heart pumping you will find that you just have a bit more pep in your step. Try these three exercises to get started.
You don’t have to be an iron man triathlete to get blood pumping through your body. In fact, any exercise that gets your heart rate up is going to improve circulation. That includes walking. Just 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking most days of the week has been shown to improve circulation, even among people with peripheral artery disease (a narrowing of the arteries that reduces circulation, particularly in the legs). In time, walking can also strengthen your heart and improve overall cardiovascular health. A healthy cardiovascular system is important for proper circulation.
Find your Om
Yoga and deep breathing exercises are great ways to boost circulation. Deep diaphragmatic breathing pushes blood flow toward the chest and into the heart. Pair deep breathing with these two poses to relax the body and boost circulation.
Legs up the wall
This pose is especially important because it promotes blood flow from the lower extremities. Poor circulation often means areas furthest from the heart get very little action in terms of blood flow. This pose can help. Lie on the floor and roll to your side with your bottom close to the wall. As you twist to your back extend your legs along the wall and rest your heels and the backs of your legs along the wall with your bottom as close to the wall as is comfortable (feel free to adjust as need by bringing your legs down in a diamond shape or scooting your bottom away from the base of the wall a bit). Hold from 5 to 15 minutes.
Downward facing dog
You will essentially be moving your body to form an inverted letter V shape. Down dog boosts full body circulation and is also good for reducing back pain, anxiety and tension. Your feet should be about hip width apart and hands shoulder width apart. Bend forward and place palms flat on the floor in front of you. If your hamstrings are tight, it is okay to bend your knees. You may even need to shift your weight to the balls of your feet. Keep your spine straight and allow your head and neck to extend comfortably. Hold for 10 seconds to start.
Lift to lift circulation
Weight training helps you build muscle and boost blood flow. That’s because improved cardiovascular health means more efficient circulation. Incorporate slow lifts in your training regimen two or three times each week to increase blood flow to your limbs. You also get the benefit of lower blood pressure a marker of good heart health.
The best way to boost circulation is to get moving. Everything that gets your heart rate pumping, including swimming, biking, hiking and dancing is a good bet. Healthy circulation means more energy, better heart health, a glowing complexion and even a zestier sex life. All of these are good reasons to get started today.