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When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to remember that it all starts on the inside. It doesn’t matter how often you’re hitting the gym if your internal health is off. One of the most important internal processes you need to be aware of is your blood circulation.
Read on to learn more about the importance of good blood circulation and what you can do to improve yours.
Why Blood Circulation Matters
When your blood is circulating properly and efficiently throughout your body, your brain and other organs are receiving a consistent stream of fresh, healthy oxygen and nutrients. This promotes proper cell growth, organ function, and healthy skin. Good circulation also helps your muscles heal from soreness or injuries faster.
What Causes Poor Blood Circulation?
Poor blood circulation can be caused by all kinds of issues, including the following:
Low blood pressure
Abnormal red blood cell levels
Poor vein and artery health (blood clots, atherosclerosis, etc.)
Poor circulation can also be a side effect of conditions like obesity, heart disease, or diabetes mellitus.
How to Know if You Have Poor Blood Circulation
Common signs of poor blood circulation include:
- Numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the hands, feet, or toes
- Constantly cold hands, ears, feet, and/or legs
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Swollen fingers, feet, and/or legs
- Muscle cramps
- Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin)
- Skin lesions that are slow to heal
- Irregular heartbeat
- Poor memory
- Low stamina
How to Improve Your Circulation
If your blood circulation is not as good as it could be, keep these tips in mind to start improving it today.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight has been shown to have a negative effect on your body’s ability of blood circulation properly. By simply losing excess weight, you can help your body move blood more efficiently. One reason for this is the fact that weight loss seems to increase levels of a protein known as adiponectin, which has been linked to healthy vascular function.
2. Get Regular Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular exercise — walking, jogging, cycling, rowing, hiking, etc. — improves heart health and helps your body circulate blood more efficiently. This is because it helps increase your blood vessels’ ability to dilate. This, in turn, allows them to work more efficiently and makes it easier for oxygen and other nutrients to get to your muscles.
3. Practice Yoga
In addition to cardiovascular exercise, low-impact options like yoga are also beneficial for people who are looking to improve their circulation. Yoga practices often involve a lot of bending, twisting, and stretching. These movements compress and decompress the veins, which can help blood circulation move more efficiently through the body.
4. Eat Oily Fish
Oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to boost blood circulation and promote overall cardiovascular health. Some of the best forms of oily fish to consume regularly (ideally, 2-3 times a week) include:
Fish are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t eat fish, though, you can supplement with a high-quality fish oil product.
5. Use Compression Gear
While cardiovascular exercise is good for your circulation, it can also cause inflammation in the body and hinder blood flow when you overdo it.
To avoid inflammation and speed up healing after a long run or hike, try wearing socks or braces with built-in compression to alleviate pain. You can also use compression gear after playing sports to ease sore muscles.
6. Maintain Balanced Iron Levels
Healthy iron levels are essential for good blood circulation. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, which is a major component of your red blood cells.
Many people, especially women, are iron deficient. Adding more red meat and dark leafy greens to your diet can boost your iron levels. But, it’s important to have them tested, first, as excess iron can also negatively affect heart health.
Good blood circulation is a necessary component of good health. Keep these tips in mind if you or someone you know needs help improving their circulation.
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