Pain, heaviness, and swelling in the legs have become very common. Why is it so? This results from poor blood circulation in the legs, aggravated by our lifestyles.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced us to stay indoors, limiting physical activity. Our morning walks were restricted to our balcony, kitchen, and bathrooms. As most of us continue to work from home, we sit in the same position for hours without even realizing it! This has resulted in poor leg health with increased episodes of leg pain and cramps. So, how do we subdue this health issue? Please take a deep breath, and let’s discover how to overcome these challenges.
Tips To Improve Blood Circulation In Legs
Walking and stretching
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for blood circulation. As you walk, your calf muscles activate, acting as a natural pump to help push blood back up to the heart. Walking regularly can also improve your mood and strengthen your muscles and bones. People of all ages can do this low-impact exercise! So, start walking slowly initially and gradually increase your speed every day.
Stretching is also a great way to improve blood flow throughout your body. It also helps reduce muscle stiffness and prevent any injuries in the future.
I am sure you have come across the phrase ‘Smoking is injurious to health.’ This is very true. Tobacco affects your entire body. It can increase your chances of developing various health problems, including poor blood circulation. Over time, smoking makes your veins narrow and stiff, limiting blood flow. Quit smoking to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins and blood clots.
Have A Healthy Diet Plan
When it comes to good blood circulation, food plays a significant role. Certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts are excellent sources of nutrients such as flavonoids and fiber. These are known to enhance vein health. Some examples of good foods for blood circulation are ginger, apples, almonds, and fatty fish.
Standing Exercises To Improve Blood Circulation
Here are some basic exercises you can do standing up that are effective techniques to improve blood circulation. You can do these when taking a break from sitting or standing and even as a warm-up before other activities.
Heel Lifts Exercise
- Hold onto a table or chair for balance.
- Lift your heels and stand on your tiptoes.
- Slowly lower your heels.
- Repeat this at least 10-15 times. Of course, you can increase the number of repetitions once you get the hang of it.
- Hold onto a table or chair for balance.
- Shift your weight to the right leg and lift your right leg.
- Stay in the same position for 10 seconds.
- Now, lift your left leg and balance your weight on the right leg.
- Initially, you can stand in the position for 30 seconds and then gradually increase to 60 seconds.
- Once you are comfortable enough, you can increase the difficulty by holding onto the table with one hand, then one finger, and finally without support. You can also try the same exercise with closed eyes for better concentration and balance.
- Stand with your feet apart about hip-width distance.
- Lower your body as much as you are comfortable, and keep your core tight.
- Remember to keep your back flat and extend your glutes as much as possible. In this process, your weight should shift to your heels.
- Start with a shallow squat and increase the squat down as you get stronger. While squatting, your knees should not move ahead of your toes.
- Increase the frequency gradually.
Now, we will talk about sitting exercises for blood circulation.
The best part is that these exercises can be done any time, regardless of where you are. For example, if you are sitting in a chair while working or even traveling in a car.
Raise Your Toes And Heels.
- While sitting with your feet touching the floor, raise both heels and hold on for 3 seconds.
- Then, raise the toes of both your feet and hold them for 3 seconds.
- Now, repeat the exercise 10 times.
- You can slowly increase the pace.
You can follow this exercise by raising a heel and a toe slowly. However, you can also extend the heel of one foot and the toes of the other foot simultaneously.
Rotate Your Ankles
- Sit with both feet on the floor and lift your right foot slightly.
- Now rotate the ankle clockwise ten times and anti-clockwise ten times.
- Repeat the same with your left foot.
Stretching Your Calf
- Sit down with both feet touching the floor.
- Stretch one leg out in front of you and flex your foot so your toes reach you.
- Stretch for 3 seconds and rest your foot back on the floor.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- Now, follow the same exercise with your left leg.
Keep trying this alternatively.
What Is A Blood Circulation Machine? What Are The Blood Circulation Machine Benefits?
A blood circulation machine artificially produces vibrations to boost blood flow in your legs and ankles. All you need to do is sit on a chair with your feet on the massager.
Here are some blood circulation machine benefits:
- Decreases your lower back pain
- Controls and maintains blood pressure
- Encourages weight loss
- Strengthens your muscles
How To Use Stockings To Increase Blood Circulation In The Legs?
Sitting or standing for long hours at a stretch can strain your circulatory system considerably. Compression stockings can be an easy solution to this problem! They help support your veins, boost blood flow, and relieve pain and heaviness in the legs and feet. In addition, these stockings are used to manage venous disorders such as varicose veins and help reduce the risk of developing these venous disorders in the future.
We recommend NovoMed Shop’s Sigvaris Samson below knee-length stockings for everyday use. These stockings have mild graduated compression that gives optimal support to your legs and helps you feel more at ease throughout the day.
If you already suffer from varicose veins, learn about the benefits of compression stockings for varicose veins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How does hydration affect blood circulation in the legs?
Hydration is crucial for overall blood circulation as it helps maintain blood volume and viscosity, ensuring blood flows easily through the vessels in the legs. Adequate hydration also helps maintain blood pressure and supports muscle function, both of which are vital for good circulation in the legs.
Q2. How does maintaining a healthy cholesterol level contribute to leg circulation?
When your cholesterol levels increase, it can affect your overall health, but it will especially restrict blood flow in the legs. The arteries in your legs tend to become narrowed or blocked due to all the built-up cholesterol resulting in various circulatory disorders.
Q3. Is there a connection between diabetes and poor leg circulation?
Yes, there is a significant connection between diabetes and poor leg circulation. In individuals with diabetes, high blood glucose levels can lead to damage in the blood vessels and nerves over time. This damage primarily affects small blood vessels, a condition known as diabetic microangiopathy, and can also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis in larger vessels. Both conditions impair blood flow, often noticeably in the legs, leading to complications such as peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Individuals with diabetes are at higher risk for poor circulation in the legs, which can manifest as pain, numbness, and increased risk of infections and ulcers. Therefore, managing blood sugar levels and monitoring circulatory health are crucial for those with diabetes to maintain leg health.
Q4. Can consuming foods rich in antioxidants improve leg circulation?
Foods such as oranges and lemons are rich in antioxidants, and they are known to have anti-inflammatory traits. So, a healthy diet consisting of foods rich in antioxidants will help you maintain good circulation in your legs and throughout your entire body. However, it’s important to note that while a diet rich in antioxidants can support vascular health, it should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle for the best outcomes in improving or maintaining good leg circulation.
Q5. Are there any specific sleeping positions that can improve leg circulation?
Yes, sleeping with your legs elevated can help improve circulation in the legs. This position helps reduce the effects of gravity, allowing for easier return of blood from the legs to the heart. It can be particularly beneficial for people with certain conditions like varicose veins, leg swelling, or lymphedema. Elevating the legs to the level of the heart or slightly above can facilitate venous return and reduce swelling and discomfort. However, it’s important to note that the best sleeping position can vary based on individual health conditions, so it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor first.