Pain, heaviness, and swelling in the legs have become very common. Why is it so? This is a result of poor blood circulation in the legs, aggravated by our lifestyles.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced us to stay indoors and limited our 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? 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 get activated, 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. This low-impact exercise can be done by people of all ages! So, start by walking slowly initially and increase your speed gradually 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 a host of 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 you take a break from sitting, while you are 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 any support. You can also try the same exercise with your eyes closed 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 you are 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 at 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 for 3 seconds.
- Now repeat the exercise 10 times.
- You can slowly increase the pace.
You can follow this exercise by alternatively raising a heel and a toe slowly. However, you can also extend the heel of your one foot and the toes of the other foot simultaneously.
Rotate your ankles
- Sit with both feet on the floor, 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 that your toes are reaching out towards 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 produces vibrations to artificially boosts 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 put considerable strain on your circulatory system. Compression stockings can be an easy solution to this problem! They help support your veins, boost blood flow and relieve any 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 are already suffering from varicose veins, learn about the benefits of compression stockings for varicose veins.