Proper circulation is a vital aspect of your overall health and wellbeing. It’s a part of us that quite literally just flows, making it something that is not often thought of when it comes to caring for our health until we notice a change in our bodies.
The first sign of inadequate circulation, especially in our legs, is a feeling of fatigue and heaviness. Many people live with circulation problems; choosing ways to improve your circulation every day will reduce your risk and help your blood flow more effectively.
What Is Poor Circulation?
Poor circulation happens when something, such as plaque buildup, blood clots, or narrowed blood vessels directly interfere with the body’s circulatory system. It is often a side effect of other underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or varicose veins, and it affects mainly those 40 years and older.
Because it is a vital part of a human’s natural autonomy, changes in circulation cause problems in the delivery of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body.
Symptoms of Poor Circulation
Depending on the severity of your circulation issue, you may experience various symptoms such as:
- Pale blue or purplish skin in the affected area
- Bulging veins
- Muscles that are weak or painful when walking
- Leg swelling
- Cold feet or toes
- Pins-and-needles feeling
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend seeing a vein specialist to help you improve circulation. The good news is that there are various ways to improve your circulation with simple lifestyle shifts.
Let’s explore some of the best ways to improve circulation in your legs.
5 Ways to Improve Circulation in Your Legs
1. Exercise + Stretch
Exercise can do so much good for your physical and mental health. It is also a great way to improve the circulation in your legs. We recommend adding moderate exercise to your schedule for at least 30 minutes each day.
Some of our favorite ways to incorporate daily exercise include:
- Fitness classes
Along the same lines as exercise, stretching plays an integral role in the health of your circulatory system and body, especially when you begin a daily exercise regimen.
Stretching works by increasing blood flow to the body’s tissues and organs. Spend a few minutes each day stretching your body before and after exercise or before you head to bed.
Exercise and stretching are essential for those who spend long hours sitting at a desk or other space for work regularly. Try to get up every hour and move your body for a few minutes to improve overall circulation.
2. Increase water consumption
The human body is 60% water. It would only make sense that our job is to continually replenish the supply of water lost through daily excretion and sweat. Most Americans are dehydrated, causing many health problems if left untreated, including poor circulation.
Each day you should aim to drink an adequate amount of water and spread-out consumption throughout the day to avoid overhydrating. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine precisely how much water you should consume each day.
3. Elevate your legs
Sitting or standing for long periods can cause our blood to pool in the veins at the base of our legs, causing symptoms like pain, swelling, fatigue, and itchiness, especially if you live with spider or varicose veins.
Elevating your legs at least six inches above your heart using a pillow or other cushion for just 20-30 minutes per day can improve circulation. This technique causes the natural flow of blood to become easier for your body, reduces symptoms like swelling and pain, and takes the pressure off your veins, reducing overall leg inflammation.
4. Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are great options to improve the health of your cardiovascular system and overall circulation.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least three servings of foods rich in these fatty acids each week.
Food options include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cod liver oil
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, or sardines
5. Wear compression stockings
Compression socks or stockings are an excellent option for those suffering from moderate to severe symptoms of varicose veins. They are designed to help improve circulation throughout the leg, especially in the calf, when worn regularly.
If you’re interested in learning more about vascular treatment to improve circulation, our skilled specialists at Carolina Vein Specialists are here to help. Our vein care specialists are experts in the most advanced vein care procedures and technologies. Call 336-536-6522 to schedule an appointment today.