Blood circulation in our bodies is very important for our good health and well being. It helps promote biological systems by distributing oxygen throughout our bodies while helping remove waste.
However, when blood does not flow properly through the body or does so slowly or inadequately, which can lead to symptoms like cold fingers, heavy legs, low energy and weakness, among others. Poor circulation can also be a symptom of underlying health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular illness and diseases affecting the veins and arteries.
The good news, though, is that you can easily improve your blood circulation at home. If you are experiencing poor blood circulation, the best and easiest way to get your heart pumping normally again is by exercising. That is because when your heart muscle contracts at a higher rate, the blood flows more vigorously through the blood vessels, which improves blood circulation.
Best exercises to improve blood circulation at home
Here are some of the best at-home exercises that you can do to improve your blood circulation.
1) Leg lifts
How to do it?
- Lying straight on your back with both your legs extended straight, bend your right knee while keeping your right foot flat.
- Keeping your left leg straight, lift it towards the ceiling till your knees reach the same level.
- Bring your left leg down slowly, and repeat eight to ten times.
- Switch legs, and repeat.
2) Legs up the wall
Legs up the wall is a very effective exercise to improve your blood circulation, as it helps blood flow from your lower extremities.
How to do it?
- Lie straight on a flat surface, with your lower body close to a wall.
- Extend both your legs along the wall, and keep the back of your legs and heels along the wall, with your hips as close to the wall as you can. Adjust your body as needed by scooting your lower body away or bringing your legs together.
- Hold the position for a few minutes, and slowly bring your legs down.
3) Downward-facing dog
The Downward-facing dog exercise enhances full-body blood circulation and helps reduce anxiety, stress, depression and lower back pain.
How to do it?
- Come on all your fours, and take a high plank position. Keep your feet at hip distance and your hands at shoulder-width distance.
- Bend forward with your palms on the floor in front of you.
- If you want to, you can bend your knees, or keep them straight as you bend.
- Shift your body weight to the ball of your feet, and try to balance.
- Make sure to keep your back straight, and allow your neck and head to extend forward comfortably.
- Hold the position for at least 20 seconds, and release your body to the floor.
Push-ups are a basic move that not only gets your heart to pump rapidly but also helps strengthen your shoulders, chest, arms and core muscles.
How to do them?
- Take a plank position, with your hands and toes on the floor.
- Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, and your feet should be hip-width apart.
- Bend your elbows slightly out to the sides, and lower your body towards the floor.
- Lift yourself again, and repeat the move.
- Complete three sets of eight to ten reps.
If you are unable to perform a push-up off your toes, do not bend your knees. Put your hands on a bench or any other inclines surface so that you can support your body, and engage your core and stabiliser muscles.
5) Ankle pumps
Ankle pumps primarily work the calves and the lower extremity muscles near your arteries and veins. The pumping movement, i.e., contracting and releasing, helps the blood flow through the arteries and veins of the lower leg to the entire body.
How to do them?
- Stand straight and upright.
- Raise your right heel to shift your weight to the balls of your feet.
- Gently squeeze your calf muscles for a few seconds. Do not squeeze them too strongly, as that can lead to cramping.
- Repeat the same on your left leg.
- Perform three sets of ten reps.
Apart from these at-home exercises, there are various other things you can do to improve your overall blood circulation.
That include reducing the intake of salt and saturated fats, avoiding smoking and tobacco products, and trying not to be sedentary. The key to boosting blood circulation is to keep your body moving.
Any physical activity that gets your heart rate up, including jogging, swimming, hiking, dancing and biking, are all great options.