Poor blood circulation has been associated with everything from cold feet to an increased risk of heart disease. That’s not all, as it can also affect your ability to build muscle and get in great shape. Knowing how to improve circulation is important if you want to improve your overall physical condition and your health. Here are some things you should be doing to ensure good blood flow throughout your entire body.
Greater blood flow to the muscles is needed in order to enjoy “the pump” and its associated benefits. According to fitness expert Shannon Clark, staying well hydrated allows for greater blood volume, ensuring there is adequate fluid in your veins and arteries to produce the pump effect. She recommends drinking two to three glasses of water during the pre-workout period, and then continuously remaining hydrated throughout the rest of your day.
Don’t Skip Resistance Exercises
A study performed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association showed that men who performed both aerobic and resistance exercises noticed greater blood flow to their limbs when performing resistance training. The effect is magnified whenever you perform supersets, which involves doing more than one exercise back to back with no rest in between. Some trainers recommend three to four supersets in order to maximize blood flow to the muscles and bring them to the point of fatigue.
Aside from lifting weights, regular cardiovascular exercise is the next best way to improve blood circulation. Studies show that between 20 and 30 minutes of brisk walking several times each week improves circulation, even in patients diagnosed with peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease involves a narrowing of the arteries, and can greatly decrease circulation, particularly in the legs. Cardio exercise in general is also known to strengthen your cardiovascular system, something that is essential for proper circulation to occur.
Any talk about how to improve circulation would not be complete without mentioning these miscellaneous methods of doing so:
- Massage, whether given by a masseuse or by gently kneading a certain area of the body such as your feet.
- Elevating your legs above your heart when lying down, or keeping feet slightly propped up while sitting.
- Eating a healthy diet, which means avoiding processed foods and ones containing a great deal of sodium.
- Quitting smoking or using any other tobacco product.
- Limiting caffeine intake-ideally, you should consume no more caffeine each day than what is contained in two cups of coffee.
- Avoiding alcohol, soda, and other sugary soft drinks
- Taking certain supplements such as goji berry, astralagus, or ellagic acid.
- Maintaining a healthy weight, as studies show that overweight and obese people are more likely to suffer poor circulation than others.
Good blood circulation is not only important for your health, but it can also help you lose weight, build muscle, and maintain your level of fitness. If you are suffering from poor circulation, a combination of the above methods are suggested in order to improve things.