8 Ways to Promote Circulation in Your Legs

Most of us have experienced our hands, feet, or other parts of our body “falling asleep”. This could be due to pressure on a nerve or brief periods of poor circulation, and could quite possibly be the only time we think about our circulation. Circulation is fundamental to the health of your entire body as your cardiovascular and circulatory systems help fight off disease, provide the right chemical balance for homeostasis, and help your body maintain a normal body temperature.

How Does Circulation Work?

Circulation begins and ends with your heart, and is responsible for sending blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout your body. When blood flow to a specific part of your body is reduced, you may experience symptoms of poor circulation.

What Causes Poor Circulation?

There are many factors that can play a role in poor circulation. For this article, we will touch base on causes of poor circulation to your legs, and ways to help promote a health circulatory system.

Some factors that can contribute to poor circulation in legs are becoming sedentary, varicose veins, blood clots, diabetes, and venous insufficiency, which occurs when your leg veins don’t allow blood to flow back up to your heart.

Symptoms can include the following:

  • Pain
  • Cramping
  • Swelling
  • Heaviness
  • Itching
  • Restlessness

Ways to Promote Circulation

  1. Exercise – including walking, yoga, exercises when lying down, seated, or standing. Exercising is beneficial to your body in many ways, including combating issues with poor circulation.
  2. Compression – Compression stockings can help improve blood flow and reduce pain and swelling. There are varying levels of compression from mild to extra firm, so it is always recommended to speak with your doctor prior to trying compression stockings.
  3. Stress Elimination – We know that eliminating stress completely is impossible, so it is best to eliminate it where you can. Stress does a number on your body, making it completely go out of whack and sending it into the “fight or flight” mode. Exercise reduces the levels of the body’s stress hormones and stimulates chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural mood elevators – endorphins! Other great ways to eliminate stress are to listen to relaxing music and spending time with family and friends.
  4. Dry Brushing Your Skin – According to Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal, “Dry brushing unclogs pores in the exfoliation process. It also helps detoxify your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph flow/drainage”. There are precautions when using dry brushing, and its important to do it the right way. It is best to consult with your doctor should you want to utilize this method.
  5. Bed Wedges or Pillows – Elevating your legs while you sleep can help circulation and prevent swelling. The best practice is to elevate your legs above the level of your heart.
  6. Drinking Water – About 60% of the human body is made up of water. Water helps keep things flowing throughout your body, such as flushing toxins and joint mobility. Staying hydrated helps circulation by improving blood flow. In particular, warm water encourages veins to expand, allowing for more blood flow.
  7. Quit Smoking – Smoking causes arteriosclerosis, which is a build up of fatty deposits in the vessels and loss of elasticity of those vessel walls.
  8. Treat Yourself to a Massage – The pressure created by a massage moves blood through congested areas, thus facilitating circulation!

Whether you have bouts of poor circulation or it seems to happen regularly, you can take specific steps to help promote your blood flow. Increasing your exercise, even if it is as simple as taking a short walk, is one of the most important ways to improve circulation. Speak with your doctor about concerns and come up with a plan of action to promote your circulation that works best for you!