As a Seattle podiatrist I see the consequences of poor blood circulation every day in my practice. Poor blood circulation makes it more difficult for us to get the oxygen and nutrients we need to the organs of our body including our legs and feet. When blood can't regularly reach our feet, it puts us at greater risk for ulcers.
While its true advanced age and illness can reduce blood circulation, it's essential to keep your blood moving regardless of your age or health. When you keep your blood moving you improve your mood, memory, prevent and manage heart disease and diabetes, and reduce your blood pressure.
Here are 8 hacks to keep your blood flowing:
Start out your day by stretching
Stretching gets your blood flowing throughout your body. It doesn't have to be complicated. Bob and Jean Anderson wrote the book, "Stretching" 30 years ago and it's still relevant today.
Take frequent breaks if you sit at a desk all day
Sitting for hours on end can be bad for our circulation and our backs. Get up every 30 mins to one hour and go for a short walk outside to keep your blood flowing. Can't leave the office? Stand up, march in place, and do some stretches. Set up your computer or cell phone to remind you.
Alternate between a standing and sitting desk
Set yourself up with a standing as well as a sitting desk. Changing positions regularly can greatly assist with your circulation. Some offices also provide walking stations for employees. These are great for keeping your weight down as well.
Take the stairs
Don't use the elevator if you work in an office building. Instead take the stairs. You'll get your blood pumping and build muscle strength too. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise.
Use compression socks
Compression socks aren't just for older adults. Even athletes use them. Compression socks help return blood to your heart and reduce fatigue particularly if you stand on your feet all day.
Massage your feet and ankles
You can pay to get a foot massage or do can it yourself using foot massage lotions or oils. Massage relaxes the muscles in your feet and ankles and helps to dilate your blood vessels improving your circulation.
Biofeedback assisted relaxation has been shown to improve foot circulation. Other relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, and specific breathing techniques can all be helpful in reducing stress which increases blood blow to the feet.
Eat foods that simulation blood flow
Chocolate, green tea, and garlic all have been show to increase blood flow. It's also important to follow a healthy diet which includes eating lots of green, leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, and heart healthy recipes by the American Heart Association. Check with your doctor before starting any new diet.
If you have poor blood circulation or diabetes it's critical that you check your feet regularly and see a podiatrist when your doctor recommends it.
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.