Whether you're aware of it or not, your circulation determines a lot about your overall health. Poor circulation can be caused by smoking, diabetes, obesity, and even high blood pressure, and can lead to issues like lethargy and poor immune health. If you want to boost your health, taking care of your circulation can actually be an effective way to go about it.
Smoking is a huge contributor to poor circulation. Aside from all the other health issues it can cause, smoking causes plaque to build up along artery walls, causing constricted blood flow. It's an obvious tip, but if you have poor circulation, you may not have thought that your smoking could be a factor.
One of the most obvious but less popular ways to improve blood circulation is by getting more movement throughout the day. Anyone who has to stand or sit most of their day is guaranteed to have suboptimal circulation because staying in one position for hours at a time causes your blood to pool in one area instead of having equal distribution. Going for an occasional walk, even just to the bathroom or to get some water, or doing some light stretching throughout the day can help naturally regulate your circulation. Get some pickleball paddles and hit a ball around after work. Propping up your legs against a wall or couch while laying flat is a good way to help circulation for those who stand or walk most of the day, such as nurses or food service workers.
Create Space for Calm
Stress can massively impact your blood circulation. If you're someone who becomes anxious, angry, or generally gets "worked up" frequently, it's probably impacting your blood flow to some degree. By developing practices like meditation and yoga, you'll teach your body how to calm itself in stressful situations. Just doing some deep breathing can make all the difference in the world when you're stuck in traffic.
Eat More Iron
Those who are low in iron, or anemic, have poor blood circulation and will generally have symptoms like cold hands and feet, dizziness, and fatigue. If you think you fall into this category, you can confirm it with your healthcare provider. But you can also take steps on your own to improve your circulation by taking iron supplements or eating more iron-rich foods like spinach and red meat.
Have a Cup of Tea
Surprisingly, drinking a cup of black or green tea can be a way to improve circulation. That's because some teas contain antioxidants that can literally expand your blood vessels, thereby allowing the blood to flow more freely. Since this tip is easily accessible and pretty tough to mess up, it's a great step you can take on your own toward better circulation.
Wear Compression Socks
For many people, circulation issues are going to come up regardless of how many lifestyle changes they make. Long plane or car rides and active jobs can make it nearly impossible to keep your blood circulation in check. Thankfully, compression socks exist for just these types of cases. These socks squeeze the lower legs and help restrict the blood flow where it would otherwise pool throughout the day. They're not the most fashionable accessories, but they can be life-saving.
A change in temperature can be a good way to get your circulation moving. Getting into a hot bath or sauna has great benefits for your health, working the way drinking a cup of tea would: widening your blood vessels to allow for better blood flow. While it might be hard to work a daily bath into your schedule, just making time to do it every once in a while can have a big impact. If you've been trying to find ways to improve your health, tackling your circulation can be a good first step. After all, without blood flowing freely throughout the body, it loses its ability to function properly.