There’s no question that blood is important. It’s a major component of our genetic makeup, and its circulation throughout our body is what keeps our heart pumping and all our organs functioning. Because it’s so vital to our whole body, it makes sense that poor circulation can make us feel crummy all over. While poor circulation can be due to a variety of reasons, there are things you can do to improve it. Even better? They’re easy. Keep reading to learn how you can improve circulation and feel like a better, stronger you.
The Importance of Good Circulation
Your circulatory system ensures tissues get ample oxygen and nutrients, while also whisking away waste products like carbon dioxide. But a study published in Microvascular Research shows that as we age, circulation can slow down. Poor circulation can lead to negative side effects, like a lack of energy, swelling in your veins and extremities, and in some cases, even memory loss. Luckily, there are things you can do to strengthen your circulatory system, thereby making your whole body function and feel better.
Sharpen thinking with a ‘Happy’ dance.
Exercise may ward off memory loss, in part by boosting the flow of oxygen to brain cells. Try dancing to an upbeat song, like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. A randomized controlled trial published in PLoS One showed that those who exercised intensely for just four minutes greatly improved circulation. Make it a habit, and you may ward off dementia onset. A study in Neurology said that women between 38 and 60 who had high cardiovascular fitness had a decreased risk of dementia.
Ease swollen veins with citrus rind or garlic.
Poor circulation can painfully swell veins, leading to hemorrhoids, spider veins, and varicose veins. One potential solution? Ask your doctor about a diosmin supplement. While its efficacy isn’t proven, its citrus rind compounds may increase blood flow to heal overly dilated vessels. Another thing you can try is eating garlic. Research published in in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggests that eating a small amount of garlic daily may boost blood flow in just one week.
Tame leg swelling by tiptoeing.
Designate a frequently used hallway in your home as a “tiptoe-only zone,” and you may help end symptoms of chronic edema (or painful leg and ankle swelling). The soleus muscle in the calves is dubbed “the second heart,” since moving it pumps blood back from the lower half of the body to the heart. The good news is that simply engaging your calf muscles and moving around may help reduce swelling by keeping fluid flowing. One trick: Walk on the balls of your feet for five steps, then take five normal steps, repeating for one minute each time you enter the tiptoe zone.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.