How You Can Improve Circulation at Home
We don’t often stop to think about how our blood is circulating through our body. This is a function that occurs naturally. While this is true, it doesn’t mean that blood always circulates as it should. Various circumstances, including diabetes and obesity, can diminish the efficiency of blood flow, especially from the lower legs back up to the heart. This can lead to ongoing symptoms such as:
- Swelling in the legs
- Varicose veins
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Cold hands or feet
- Muscle cramps, especially in the feet and legs
- Skin ulcers on the legs or feet
You Don’t Have to Be Athletic to Improve Circulation
We often hear about engaging in activities like bike-riding and jogging or walking to get our blood moving more efficiently. At this time, many people are having to rethink their outdoor activities. Until that changes, it helps to know how circulation can be boosted easily without having to leave the house. If you’re finding yourself home more often these days, practice some or all of the following:
- Walk the stairs. Even if you have only a few stairs in your home, you can use them to your advantage. A few minutes, a few times a day, of walking up and down stairs works the quadriceps and the calf muscles to help blood flow upward.
- Do calf raises. Calf raises can be done on a stair or on the ground. Holding a wall or object for support, transfer weight to the balls of the feet and raise the heels as high as comfortably possible. Release heels all the way back to the floor and let the calf muscle relax. Repeat this up to 20 times, take a 1-minute break, and then repeat for a total of 3 sets of 20.
- Elevate the legs. This can be particularly beneficial before bed, as it is said to help improve sleep. One way to do this is to lie on the bed or floor with the buttocks up against a wall. The legs extend upward and are supported against the wall. Another way to elevate the legs is to lie on your back with your feet and lower legs (up to the knees) supported by several pillows or cushions.
- Drink lots of fluids. Water is vital to circulation but we don’t often hear about this. When we get dehydrated, blood doesn’t move as swiftly through the veins. To prevent this, sip water throughout the day, making sure to consume at least 64 ounces.
- Wear compression stockings. People who have had vein treatments or who have varicose veins often wear compression when walking or standing for long periods. Compression works by squeezing blood from the ankles and calves, where valves may be prone to malfunction.