Even for people who do not suffer from diabetes or vascular disease, improving circulation is a crucial part of maintaining a high quality of life well into our golden years. From memory to energy, heart and brain health, quick recovery from strains, sprains, and wounds, and even keeping our complexion fresh, optimal blood circulation is a major factor in good health.
Could you benefit from improved circulation? Here are five easy ways to get your blood pumping.
Even if exercise isn't your favorite hobby, it's essential that you find something that you enjoy doing that gets you up and going as often as possible. While we may slow down as we age, the body was designed to be active and physical, so it's no surprise that a sedentary lifestyle is linked to poor health and can increase the likelihood of disability.
Need some ideas to get moving? Start with a gentle walk or hike, or a favorite sport such as golf or tennis. Bicycling, stretching, yoga and dance, and weight lifting, even if only with light weights or resistance bands, are all good options. Your daily tasks, chores, and errands count, too! Fitting in one or more of these activities into your regular schedule is the first, most direct way to improve circulation. Even if you're facing a serious challenge to physical movement such as being confined to bed or in a wheelchair, it's still possible to find ways to exercise, and even more important that you do so.
For those who are put off by exercise, try seeing it as a way of connecting with friends. Consider arranging hikes or regular walks to a coffee shop for some social time with family or your favorite friend group.
Blood is around 50 percent water, and that's why dehydration is so dangerous. When you become dehydrated, your body tries to conserve energy by decreasing your circulation. This means less oxygen is carried to your muscles, leaving you tired and lethargic. It can also increase or decrease blood pressure. So keep your fluid intake up!
How much water you need is different for everyone, though. To find out how much water you personally need, experts have designed a very simple formula for seniors:
The number you're left with is a rough approximation of how many ounces of water you need in a day!
There are countless benefits to adopting a plant-based diet, and good circulation is just one more to add to the list. Fruits and vegetables typically have high water content, which again, contributes to good circulation. The water and fiber associated with plant-based diets also ease digestion, which is helpful for maintaining blood flow to the extremities during and after a meal. Even if you're not ready to completely dive into plant-based eating, taking cues from this special diet, like loading up your plate with veggies and limiting the saturated fats found in meat and dairy, is one of the best ways to keep your arteries clear and your blood flowing unimpeded.
Massage therapists are trained healthcare professionals and therapeutic massage can be an incredibly pleasurable, stress-free, stress-reducing, and entirely passive way to improve circulation. The improvement in circulation during a massage is one of the main reasons why therapeutic massage is so healing. The firm touch associated with massage not only directly loosens muscle knots and relieves strains, but it also moves blood throughout the body, helping the healing process for overused or aching muscles.
Unsurprisingly, many massage therapists often recommend hot Epsom salt baths after a massage to continue the healing process. Epsom salt baths are not just topical therapies. They actually work from inside the body. Rich in magnesium, the salts help with arterial elasticity while the hot bath water promotes circulation. Even if massages aren't your thing, skip that part and at least immerse yourself in a regular hot Epsom salt bath. Bring a stiff skin brush into the bath with you and scrub yourself firmly. You'll enhance the circulatory effect, much like a massage!
Compression apparel, such as compression socks and sleeves, are snug yet stretchy hosiery. They function as an everyday medical device, using graduated compression to help with circulation and to stop blood from pooling in lower extremities. Frequently used by diabetics and athletes, compression apparel can be useful for anyone who experiences swelling in the legs, feet, hands, or any other part of the body. They can be critical to avoiding deep vein thrombosis on long-haul plane flights, or for those who are bedridden for a significant time.
Improving and maintaining your circulation will pay huge dividends in terms of your quality of life, helping keep you fit, active, and enhancing your overall vitality. Integrating these tips into your lifestyle will do just that. Enjoy a healthier, happier lifestyle — you deserve it!