Do you often find yourself a victim of chest pain, shortness of breath, or headaches? Are you perhaps considered at high risk for a heart attack? Follow these tips to improve your blood circulation throughout your body and lower your risk of a heart attack.
EditIncreasing Physical Activity
- Walk regularly. Going for walks after meals can help increase circulation and aid your digestive system in doing its job. Walking at least 30 minutes each day is recommended.
- Exercise whenever you can. Anything that aids in general fitness should boost your circulation. When you work out, try both:
- Cardiovascular training. Swimming, biking, running, playing sports, etc. Aerobic activity will improve heart and blood vessel function.
- Strength training. Strength training (lifting weights) will help you build muscle, which in turn increases the effectiveness of cardiovascular and lymph circulation.
- Every hour, get up and try 3 to 5 minutes’ worth of stretching or small exercise. This is especially handy if you’re at a desk all day and barely get a chance to walk around. Try doing little arm circles, touching your hands to your toes, kicking out your feet, or performing small, slow jumping jacks (enough to get your heart rate up).
- Get a massage. Massage, like exercise, increases local circulation by stimulating blood flow in the soft tissue. Many studies point to the overall effectiveness of massage in stimulating healing.
- Read this article on how to deskercise, or exercise while sitting at your desk. It should help improve circulation if you can’t find the time to do proper exercises.
- Put your feet up. Elevating your legs is a great way to increase your circulation and relax at the same time. It also reduces the chance of varicose veins, which are caused by high blood pressure or simply standing for extended periods of time.
EditMaking Lifestyle Changes
- Eat healthy foods and avoid unhealthy foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (found in fish oil, olive oil, nuts, and seeds). Stay away from overly processed foods, foods with excessive sugar or salt, and foods with unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats).
- Drink right. Drink enough water during the day so that your organs don’t have to fight to produce energy and perform their daily functions. You don’t have to drink liters upon liters a day, but you should drink water when you’re thirsty. Try drinking some warm water, as cold water is known to close up your veins.
- Cut out the caffeine. If you can’t live without it, at least minimize your intake. For instance, if you usually have two cups of coffee in the morning, have one instead. Or if you buy your coffee from a cafe somewhere, try switching to decaf or taking your coffee down one size.
- Cut out alcohol and other sugary drinks from your diet. Sodas and overly sweet drinks do not improve your circulation and have especially deleterious health effects.
- Try taking a hot bath or doing other heat treatments. Draw up a nice warm bath (with or without Epsom salts, which are healing mineral salts) and relax for 20 to 30 minutes. Fill up hot water bottles, cover if necessary to avoid burns, and place on extremities to boost blood flow.
- Quit smoking, if applicable. Not only is smoking bad for your health, it also affects your circulation. Nicotine usage is among the leading causes of circulation problems.
- Find healthy outlets for your stress. Over time, stress can have negative effects on the body’s circulation. Find manageable, healthy ways to relieve stress, such as regular exercise, meditation techniques, and psychotherapy, among others.
EditKnowing When to See a Doctor
- Know if it’s bad. Be able to spot when your body is having trouble pumping its blood. Signs that your circulation is less than ideal include:
- Tingling in the feet and hands
- Cold extremities (fingers and toes)
- Bluish-tinted skin
- Slow healing times for wounds
- Talk to your doctor about possibly enhancing circulation through supplements. Your doctor may be able to prescribe or point you in the direction of certain supplements that, in healthy doses, may improve blood circulation.
- One study suggests that a combination supplement of green tea, astralagus, goji berry extracts, Lactobacillus fermentum, antioxidant ellagic acid, and other vitamins, available OTC, helps increase overall levels of hematopoietic stem cells.