During the month of May, we celebrate Older American’s Month. This is a time when we can all tip our hat to the contributions that older adults have made to our nation. It’s also a time for looking into activities you can engage in, regardless of your age, to improve your physical and emotional health.
As you get older, changes can occur in your vascular system. Two conditions that are associated with age and poor circulation, especially in the legs and feet, are peripheral artery disease and diabetes.
Peripheral Artery Disease
This type of atherosclerosis narrows your legs’ arteries, preventing those muscles from acquiring adequate blood flow. Decreased circulation and/or atherosclerosis of the legs can cause painful symptoms to your lower extremities, including your calves, hips, and thighs.
Exercises To Improve Your Circulation
You can strengthen your legs and feet as you improve circulation by adding some exercises to your daily routine. If you have been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, please consult with us at American Foot and Leg Specialists or your physician to determine whether you require medication or a procedure in addition to exercises to get your blood flowing properly. Also, do not begin any exercise routine without first consulting your doctor.
1. Walk: Walking for fitness is simple because you can do it anywhere. Walk outside in your neighborhood, on a nature path, on a treadmill at the gym, or at the mall. Start off slowly, walking 10 minutes at a time, until you are walking for 30-minute periods on a nearly daily basis. Speed up your pace and go up and down a few hills for a better workout.
2. Office Desk Exercises: If you sit at a desk for many hours each day, it’s even more vital that you move around to get your circulation going. You don’t want blood to pool in your legs or feet. Get up and walk around a bit at least once every 90 minutes. Just a stroll to the rest room or the coffee break room will do the trick. Shake your feet every 10 minutes and stand up for just a minute in addition to regular breaks.
3. Uncross Your Legs: When sitting, keep your legs flat on the ground and spaced apart slightly. Elevating your legs is another great way to boost circulation.
4. Yoga: Many yoga poses involve leg, foot, and toe movements that stimulate the circulatory system.
5. Leg Extension Exercises: Purchase some ankle weights at a sporting goods store. After wrapping the weights onto your ankles, sit on a chair or gym bench and raise up your foot until your leg and knee are fully straightened. Pause and repeat for each leg, with three sets of 10 repetitions each.
6. Hamstring Curls: You may want to make your hamstring muscles stronger to strengthen your leg and knee. Use ankle weights and stand next to a sturdy chair or wall for balance. Now bend your knee and bring your heal up towards your backside slowly. Pause, lower your foot and repeat for 10 repetitions on each leg.
Hopefully, doing one or more of the above exercises will help restore renewed circulation to your legs and feet. Walking is often all that is needed to help older adults increase their blood flow while strengthening the legs and keeping in shape at the same time.
If you need help with any issues pertaining to your feet or legs, the American Foot and Leg Specialists are here to help. Our physicians treat everything from bunions to diabetic foot care. We have offices in Fayetteville, Forest Park, Locust Grove, and Stockbridge. Atlanta Foot and Leg Specialists serve the South Atlanta Metro area, including Fulton, Cobb, Douglas, Fayette, Henry, and Clayton Counties.
This article does not take the place of professional medical advice. Call one of our offices to make an appointment with one of our physicians or with an M.D. in your area.
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