Poor circulation results from inadequate blood flow to one or more bodily areas. Your circulatory system moves blood, nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. When circulation to a specific region is reduced, it can cause symptoms like numbness and tingling, swelling, muscle cramps and skin discoloration.
Thankfully, boosting your blood flow can be simple with the right methods. Learn how to improve circulation in your legs, arms and other body parts in this complete guide.
Improper circulation can stem from a variety of factors, from sedentary habits to underlying medical conditions. Some common causes of weak circulation include:
People who smoke, are above age 40, have high blood pressure and live sedentary lifestyles are also more likely to have poor circulation.
Blood circulation impacts every cell in the body. Blood travels through the vessels, sending nutrients and oxygen to every organ and system. Arteries carry blood away from the heart and to the rest of the body, then veins move blood back to the heart. Think of it like a highway system. Each component works together to keep the blood flowing and maintain optimal body function.
Proper circulation also provides the following benefits:
If you are wondering how to increase blood flow in your legs naturally, below are some simple remedies for improving circulation.
When you are dehydrated, your body decreases blood circulation to store energy. Your heart beats faster to compensate, elevating your heart rate and blood pressure. Your blood also retains more sodium when you are dehydrated, thickening your blood and complicating circulation. Drinking plenty of water makes it easier for your heart to pump blood and helps oxygen reach the muscles.
Compression stockings are long socks designed to prevent swelling and blood clots by gently compressing the muscles in your legs and ankles. These garments are ideal if you have poor circulation in your legs and feet, or when you are traveling or sitting for extended periods. While compression stockings cannot cure varicose veins, they can help manage the discomfort associated with them.
Compression stockings are affordable and widely available at pharmacies with no prescription required. Try elevating your legs while wearing compression socks to enhance circulation further.
Regular physical activity — particularly aerobic exercise — is a fantastic way to improve your circulation and overall health. It gets the heart pumping more efficiently, increases blood flow and helps flush blood through your arteries.
Some great exercises for your veins include running, walking and biking. You can also try lower-impact activities like swimming and yoga. Strength training exercises like lifting weights are another excellent circulation booster.
Green and black tea contain powerful antioxidants — specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) — that increase blood vessel width, help blood pump more easily, and prevent plaque buildup and atherosclerosis in the arteries. Just remember to drink responsibly and watch your caffeine intake.
The chemicals in cigarette smoke cause swollen and inflamed cells around the blood vessels. This can narrow the vessels, possibly leading to a variety of cardiovascular diseases. All tobacco products — even smokeless tobacco — can thicken your blood and damage artery walls.
A massage is a natural remedy for relaxation and better blood flow. It helps release built-up pressure in a specific bodily area. This makes it easier for oxygenated blood to flow to that region, promoting healthy circulation.
Taking a warm bath can help improve circulation to your feet and increase blood flow throughout the body. Enhanced circulation is one of the many benefits of hydrotherapy. The warm water helps expand your veins and arteries, creating more room for blood flow. Make sure the water is not too hot if you have varicose veins, as it can cause pain and irritation.
Iron plays an important role in your circulatory system. Your body needs this mineral to create hemoglobin, a major component of red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. Consider taking iron supplements or eating iron-rich foods like red meat and dark leafy greens. Just remember that excessive iron intake can be counterproductive and may negatively affect cardiovascular health.
Knowing how to increase blood circulation in the body is important for your overall health. If you are dealing with vein abnormalities like varicose or spider veins, and your circulation is not improving with self-care methods, meeting with a vein specialist may be the next step.
At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, we treat every patient with the latest technologies, state-of-the-art equipment and compassionate care. We perform minimally invasive vein procedures including radiofrequency ablation (RFA), sclerotherapy and more.
When you visit our facility for a consultation, we will help you better understand what is happening in your legs and veins, providing different treatment options and helping you select the best one for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment!
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