Good circulation is vital to good health as it supplies oxygen, blood and nutrients to your body’s organs for them to operate at their best.
Good circulation helps wounds heal faster, keeps your brain sharp, your heart healthy and even keeps you blushing.
It even helps boost your immunity by supplying the blood cells required to fight infection.
Signs of poor circulation include cold hands or feet, dry skin, brittle nails and wounds that are slow to heal.
So how can you get your blood pumping?
Hop, skip and jump
You may not like it, but the best way to improve your circulation is to increase your cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. Running, biking, walking, Pilates, yoga or even just a good stretch routine are all simple ways to improve your circulation.
Squats are ideal as they use the biggest muscles in your body and will get your heart pumping quickly.
Up in smoke
Giving up the ciggies is also vital. The dangers of smoking are well known, but specifically for circulation it can damage blood vessel walls, cause plaque to accumulate in the veins and inhibit blood flow by thickening the blood.
High blood pressure can cause arteriosclerosis, a condition that hardens the blood vessels and chokes off blood flow. Check with your doctor what your blood pressure should be, and if you are at risk you may have to check it regularly until it is under control by visiting your doctor or buying a home blood pressure monitor.
Home pressure monitors are available at most pharmacies but should be used as a guide only and are not a substitute for regular medical care.
More plants, less meat
Improving your diet has a knock-on effect. Better diet, you lose weight, your blood pressure goes down, your circulation goes up.
So try to avoid saturated fat, processed foods and too much salt.
Iron it out
Taking iron supplements may improve circulation by boosting the iron in your blood, which helps circulate oxygen throughout the body. Talk to your doctor to see if an iron supplement is right for you.
Sock it to them
Compression socks or tights put a bit of a squeeze on your legs or calves to ensure the blood doesn’t hang around too long and forces your body to move it elsewhere.
And ban all images of nana’s sagging ‘supphose’ from your mind. These days they come in all manner of fancy colours or prints and even strengths so you no longer look like you are on your first step to the nursing home.
Put your feet up
Literally, this is what you should do. One of the signs of poor circulation is swollen feet. Elevate your feet above your heart to force your body to move the blood around. But not just a couple of centimetres, try pushing your legs up parallel to a wall for the best results.
The brush off
This one is a bit left of centre, but regular body brushing is good for your circulation and skin as it stimulates the vessels under your skin and removes dead skin cells.
For best results, use a specialist dry body brush and brush upwards from your legs, towards your body on your arms and towards your heart on all other parts of your body.
Do you suffer from poor circulation? What do you do to keep your blood flowing? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?