When I was a kid, my mom used to encourage me to include outdoor activities in my schedule. The reason being, “it will increase blood circulation in your body”, that’s what she used to say always. I used to wonder, why at all do we need to increase blood circulation in our bodies? The answer to that question, I found a couple of years later at school.
There are numerous benefits of a good circulation of blood in the body, which I’m sure most of us are aware of. A good circulation ensures that all our organs are working fine. This in turn makes sure that our immune system remains healthy and active, and is capable of fighting away infections and keeping diseases at bay, thus leading to a healthier and happier life.
So, this brings us back to the question.
How do I improve my blood circulation?
We fall sick less often when the blood is circulating throughout the body properly. The lungs, the heart and the muscles – all work in a synchronization to keep the body functioning in an efficient manner.
There are various ways to improve circulation, namely:
- Avoiding sitting in one place for longer periods of time: I’m sure almost every one of us might have been told either by elders or a physician to avoid sitting in one place for long periods of time – the reason being very simple. Blood circulation becomes inefficient with a sedentary lifestyle.
- Stretching as and when possible: Taking breaks in between work, more importantly when our work requires sitting in one place or in front of a computer is supremely important. Stretching and walking around, every couple of hours or so, sends a signal to the brain which in turns signals the heart to circulate the blood in the body faster, and help keep us more energized. If walking every now and then seems difficult, at least lifting up the legs, basically keeping the feet elevated helps.
- Massage to ease blood flow: In case of mild body aches, why does a massage seem to help? This is because a massage aids the body to increase blood flow around that area helping relax the tense muscles and relieve us of the pain. A good oil massage on the scalp is appreciated by all of us. This too – is very effective in increasing and improving the blood circulation in the body.
- Keep moving the feet as and when possible: Mostly people complain of having numb feet especially after they remain still or sit without any movement for a while. The feet tend to become cold, and numb as the circulation decreases. And how does it get better? On its own mostly, when we move our feet, the circulation restarts to function properly, which in turn leads to the feet getting a good supply of blood and hence the numbness goes away.
- Wearing support stockings: Massaging the feet muscles is another good way of improving blood circulation in the feet, along with wearing support stocking as and when necessary. Ladies who have given birth recently, and aren’t allowed to move much, or patients who have undergone a surgery recently and can’t move around easily, are especially provided special support stockings by the hospital so that the blood circulation is not obstructed even when the movements are less.
There are various ways to accelerate the blood circulation in the body, most of which have to do with increasing the physical activities we do throughout the day.
Getting the heart into action: Standing and stretching the body, even for a few minutes every hour is an effective way to do so. Any such activity that gets the heart rate up, triggers the heart into action mode and increases flow of blood throughout the body, simply because the heart receives signals from the brain that say “ Hey, I detect physical activity in the body. Need more energy, get pumping.”
Simple and small exercises throughout the day will ensure that this happens smoothly without glitches. Arm circles, stretching of hands and feet, turning the neck around also help, not just by increasing circulation, but also by keeping stiffness in the body and muscles away.
People who aren’t able to move about a lot, either due to their lifestyle, or have restricted movement due to old age, can try bending by the waist, touching the toes.
- Physical activities and exercises to improve circulation of blood: For people who are capable and can do gymming , or any other form of cardiovascular exercises should most definitely do so. Activities like swimming, biking, jogging, cycling, running etc help a lot. People who are into outdoor sports like badminton, tennis, basketball, football etc have these as an additional way to improve blood circulation. Even activities like dancing, various yoga postures are helpful in increasing the blood circulation.
For those who aren’t able to do any sort of physical exercises due to lack of time or irregular work schedules, might try taking small steps by making few changes in their daily routine:
- Taking the stairs whenever possible instead of taking the lift or the escalator will help too.
- While running errands for home, one can try choosing to shop themselves instead of opting for home deliveries.
- While parking the car, one can park at a distance not too near to the shopping area, a few buildings or blocks away should be good.
- While cooking, even moving around to get spices and other required things will help a bit.
- Basic home chores, like cleaning, mopping, dusting etc are great workout excuses for people especially those who aren’t able to take out additional time from their routine for workouts.
- Just playing a song and swaying to its beats will help. It doesn’t just help increase the blood circulation but is also a great stress reliever.
- Taking out even ten minutes every morning preferably, or anytime in the day whenever possible to sit and meditate helps immensely. Meditation is said to have an increased blood flow to the brain which leads to increase in attention, and better self regulation of body and the mind.
- Staying hydrated is super important. Having at least eight glasses of water per day helps improve blood circulation, as blood has a very high water content.
- Including iron rich food in the diet like ragi, banana, apples, dark leafy greens, raisins etc is a great idea.
- Cutting down on alcohol also is beneficial for the body as it helps in detoxification of the system and in turn helps with increasing the blood circulation.
- Sipping on green tea helps increase blood circulation. How, you may ask. This happens so because green tea helps to widen the blood vessels in the body which thereby helps in the easy flow of blood.
Herbs to improve blood circulation
Along with these tips and tricks, there are various herbs widely available can help in naturally increasing the blood circulation in the body. These include Bacopa (Bacopa Monnieri), Black pepper, Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus Aculeatus), Cayenne (Capsicum Annuum), Chickweed (Stellaria Media), Ginger (Zingibar Officinale), Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica), Hawthorn (Crataegus), Maidenhair (Ginkgo Biloba), Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris), Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) etc.
Taking care of one’s health is super important. Blood is what makes us, and gives us life. It is therefore supremely essential to take care of the blood circulation to ensure that the blood flows throughout our body in a smooth way to maintain the well being of both mind and body.