Feeling a bit sluggish after a long day at work? Well, don’t let it drag you down.
There are a ton of practical ways to get the blood pumping. You just need to know how to harness their full potential.
Inadequate blood flow is a common problem for people with peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
That heaviness in the legs, those pumped-up veins, it’s all thanks to the inadequate blood circulation. What you are blissfully unaware of is that 8.5 million Americans have PVD., making it quite a troublesome progressive and slow circulation disorder.
Of course, the situation with poor blood flow is not as bleak as it looks. All you need are just a couple of tweaks to your lifestyle and diet to turn the tide.
We combined a hefty guide that can show you the ropes. Here, you can find out exactly what it takes to get your circulation back on track.
Why Blood Flow Is Important
- The blood has four primary functions, all of which have their own role to play. Without it, the organs would weaken and die.
- A single cubic milliliter of blood has 4 to 6 million red blood cells. Also known as erythrocytes, they are the most widespread types of cells in the blood.
- The majority of adults could lose 14% of blood without having any serious side effects or changes in vital signs. In other cases, they will start feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
The blood is like a delivery truck, carrying packages of key nutrients and oxygen. Its roads are the veins, capillaries, and arteries. The blood carries nourishment, heat, oxygen, antibodies, vitamins, hormones, and electrolytes to the body tissues. At the same time, it’s delivering packages; it picks out outgoing packages in the form of waste. This is a constant cycle.
Circulation involves one of the most crucial organs in the body – the heart. Unfortunately, a lot of people underestimate the importance of increased healthy blood flow. With poor circulation, it becomes difficult to maintain optimal health.
Inadequate blood flow causes the body temperature in the extremities to fluctuate. Restricted circulation triggers numbness. Fluid also starts to accumulate, which makes it difficult to flush out unnecessary waste.
Signs of Poor Blood Flow
It’s up to you to recognize the symptoms. These include:
- Muscle cramps
- Stinging or throbbing pain in the limbs
Every health condition that leads to inadequate blood flow can trigger its own unique symptoms. With diabetes, for example, high blood sugar causes fatty deposit buildup in the blood vessels. These deposits make the vessels hard and narrow, which leads to poor blood circulation. According to research, cramps are associated with neuropathy.
Type 1 diabetes has 60% of cramps, compared to type 2 diabetes, which has roughly 80% of cramps. Another possible cause for muscle cramps is connected with the changes in peripheral vascularization. People with peripheral artery disease can experience erectile dysfunction alongside numbness and pain.
Varicose veins are another problem. These damaged veins have trouble moving the blood as properly as other veins do. This means that inadequate blood circulation can lead to a lack of oxygen and blood clots. Obese and overweight individuals are more likely to develop this problem.
10 Ways To Improve Your Blood Flow
Almost a third of the American population has metabolic syndrome. Adults with this ailment have bigger odds of having poor heart health, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis (a disease that restricts blood circulation and leads to a blood clot, stroke, or heart attack).
It is important to focus on your diet, lifestyle, and physical activity to work on your risk. Adding such changes can boost lipid profile, blood pressure, and body composition.
Plus, working on your diet and physical activity can decrease type 2 diabetes incidence by almost 60%. These improvements in blood pressure and glucose can help you mitigate the heart disease risk.
Take a look at the practical tips below that are worth the effort.
1) Use The Right Exercise to Get the Blood Pumping
You don’t need to be an iron man to get circulation back on track. There are many activities you can do without forcing you to bite off more than you can chew.
Activities that can help you figure out how to improve blood circulation include:
- Daily stretches
- Simple walks
- Aerobic exercise
Daily muscle stretches enhance blood flow, vascular volume, capillary, and endothelial function. Research shows that when you work out, circulation to the plantar flexor muscle is drastically higher in the stretched limbs.
Walking is particularly useful. It can curb high blood pressure and amplify muscle contraction. The more the muscles contract and relax, they squeeze the big veins in the extremities, which boosts healthy circulation in stagnant areas. So, it is a solid workout for women and men of all ages.
But, if you are in the mood for an exercise that can make you mildly out of breath, then any aerobic workout will do, such as dancing, swimming, jogging, boxing, etc.
Based on studies, people who perform aerobic exercise experience lessened stiffness of blood vessels in the neck. They also have better circulation to the brain. With higher oxygen consumption, you get a sharper mind.
2) Keep a Healthy Body Weight
How much you weigh has a lot to do with your blood flow state. To know how to improve blood circulation, assess your current body weight.
If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, then you are within a normal or healthy body weight. But, when that BMI reaches 25.0 to 29.9, then you are considered overweight. Anything over that is a sign of obesity.
A reduced diameter of the blood vessel wall means more blood contacts the wall, resistance increases, thus reducing flow. The increased pressure amplifies blood pressure. When you gain weight, that pressure increases heart rate and reduces blood transportation through the arteries.
In cases such as these, improving circulation should be a top priority. So, try to ensure your body is within a normal weight range so it can deliver all the nutrients and oxygen it needs.
3) Include a Couple of Foods that Optimize Circulation
The right healthy diet supplies the body with a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. So, to figure out how to improve blood circulation, you want to eat all the best foods you can.
Some of these include:
- Pomegranate juice
- Cayenne pepper
- Fatty fish high in omega 3 fatty acid content
- Flavonoid-rich chocolate
Fatty acids impact vascular relaxation and help with poor circulation. They are critical for brain and artery health. So, adding any food with high omega 3 content can help with brain blood flow.
Lactic acid is also beneficial for the human body. It improves the nutritional value of food, lactose digestion, intestinal infections, cholesterol, among other things.
But, when the body has higher than normal lactic acid levels, it can cause lactic acidosis. If the condition is severe enough, it can turn your pH balance upside down. This means that the acid level in the blood is out of sync and can lead to muscle weakness.
4) Brew a Nice Cup of Tea
For those who need to know how to increase blood flow, some teas can help. Options like green tea and black tea are rich in antioxidants. Black tea is here to amplify blood vessel health and blood flow. At the same time, green tea reduces the odds of coronary artery disease.
Green tea also has L-theanine. This is an amino acid that improves mood, attention, memory, and overall brain function. So, other than the increased blood flow, you can use both of these teas to give the body a solid health boost.
5) Keep Your Iron Levels in Tip-Top Shape
Proper blood circulation often comes down to balanced iron levels. This key mineral is necessary for making hemoglobin, which is crucial for carrying oxygen.
That’s why it is a good idea to add plenty of healthy foods, like spinach, to your diet. Iron supplements may also come in handy for those who need improved blood flow and cardiovascular health.
6) Drop the Smoking Habit
When looking for methods to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure, smoking is another thing to consider. Smoking decreases nitric oxide and cerebral blood flow. It is a risk factor for lung cancer and poor circulation.
Smoking causes plaque buildup in the vessels. The good thing is, when you quit smoking, your blood flow will improve in 2 to 12 weeks. This is more than enough to give your heart the health boost it deserves!
7) Lift Your Legs and Wear Compression Stockings
A lot of people want to know how to increase blood flow. When you lift your legs up, the blood moves to the upper body. Compression socks help the vessels work better.
Every artery takes blood that’s rich in oxygen. The pressure from the stockings keeps the legs from getting tired. They can curb the swelling in the ankles and feet.
8) Try Ginkgo Biloba
9) Pay Attention to the Medication You Are Taking
Many drugs can change the vascular tone and blood flow. Talk to your doctor if you experience any changes in your physical health.
10) Do Some Yoga
Yoga is a combination of low-impact stretching, bending, and twisting. That means you can use it for blood flow.
Our bodies need plenty of attention. What you do throughout the day matters, especially when looking to restore normal circulation.
The information here can help you make the right call on how to keep the blood flow in check.