7 Effective Stretching Exercises to Improve Your Blood Flow

Stretching promotes circulation by gently tugging on muscles (Image via Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto)
Stretching promotes circulation by gently tugging on muscles (Image via Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto)

Blood flow or circulation is probably something you never think about, despite the fact that it is essential for optimal health. Each minute, your heart pumps around five quarts of blood through your body's blood artery system.

When your circulatory system is functioning properly, it distributes oxygen throughout your body and aids in the elimination of waste.

When your circulation is weak, your blood doesn't flow as freely, resulting in tingling in your fingers and toes, fluid retention, bloating, and a lack of energy.

Stretching promotes circulation by gently tugging on muscles and connective tissue while inhaling deeply.

Stretching exercises that improve blood circulation

Stretching is a simple approach to improving circulation. You'll notice that you have a little extra spring in your step once you get your heart beating.

To get started, try the following seven stretching exercises:

1) Downward facing dog

Downward facing dog improves full-body circulation and relieves back pain, anxiety, and tension. Ideally, you'll be moving your body in the shape of an inverted letter V.

Here are the steps to perform the downward facing dog stretch properly:

  • Get your hands and knees on the floor. Your knees should be just below your hips, and your hands should be slightly ahead of your shoulders.
  • Spread your palms out and press down on the outer borders of your palms and the tips of your fingers.
  • Maintain an outward rotation of your upper arms and shoulders while rotating your forearms inward.
  • Lift your knees away from the floor on an exhalation. Stretching the spine, keep the knees slightly bent and the heels elevated off the floor at the start.
  • Straighten your legs by pushing your top thighs back and stretching your heels onto or down towards the floor, if possible, while maintaining spine length.
  • Return the tops of the thighs and knees to their original positions.
  • Keeping space across the tops of the shoulders, press your upper arms towards each other, with shoulder blades down along the spine.


2) Legs up the wall

This stance is particularly beneficial because it encourages blood flow from the lower extremities. Due to poor circulation, the tissues farthest from the heart sometimes receive very little blood flow. This position can be beneficial in regulating blood circulation.

Here are the steps to perform the legs up the wall properly:

  • Roll to your side, keeping your bottom near the wall while lying on the floor.
  • Extend your legs along the wall as you twist to your back, resting your heels and the back of your legs as near to the wall as is comfortable. Feel free to adjust as needed by bringing your legs down in a diamond shape or scooting your bottom away from the base of the wall a bit.
  • Hold the position for 5-15 minutes.


3) Triangle pose

The triangle pose strengthens your legs and hamstrings while also improving blood flow throughout your body.

Follow these steps to perform the triangle pose correctly:

  • To perform this stance, spread your feet two and a half feet apart and turn your right foot out.
  • Extend your arms out to the side while inhaling.
  • While exhaling, reach down with your right hand for your right shinbone, keeping your rear foot firmly planted.
  • Extend your left arm up towards the sky, gently tilt your torso upwards, and look at your left hand.


4) Chair pose

The chair pose requires stretching, which enhances blood flow and oxygenation to your legs, glutes, and hips.

Follow the steps given below to do the chair pose properly:

  • With your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your arms at your sides, stand tall and straight.
  • Inhale and raise your arms to your ears, straight and parallel, wrists and fingers long. Maintain a neutral spine by keeping your shoulders down.
  • Exhale as you bend your knees while maintaining parallel thighs and knees. To make the right angle with the tops of your thighs, lean your torso forward.
  • Maintain a straight line between your neck, head, torso, and arms. Hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.


5) Pigeon pose

Pigeon pose may not be the most comfortable kind of stretch, especially for those with limited flexibility. However, it is believed to improve circulation in the hips and legs.

Here are the steps you can follow to do the pigeon pose correctly:

  • Bring your right foot towards your right wrist from the Downward Facing Dog pose, then place your knee and shin on the mat.
  • Straighten your left leg back so that your legs resemble the number 7.
  • Line up your right knee with your right hip.
  • Straighten your right foot.
  • Lower your brow to the mat as you walk forward with your hands.
  • Your hips should be squared to the mat.
  • Walk your hands back and straighten your arms for release. Switch sides and return to the Downward Facing Dog.


6) Lunge

This active stretch, which you should do before any type of physical activity, improves blood flow and circulation in your lower extremities.

Here are the steps to perform lunges properly:

  • To begin, stand tall with your feet parallel.
  • Take a three to four-foot stride back with your right foot, balancing on the toe of your right foot.
  • Bend your left knee above your ankle, maintain your hands on your hips to balance or raise your arms up to your ears.
  • Hold on for some time in this pose.
  • Go back to the starting position.
  • Switch the legs and do 8-10 reps.


7) Ankle pumps

This stretch targets the calf muscle movement. The calf muscle's contracting and releasing motion helps circulate blood and lymph through the lower leg veins and arteries, which are prone to blood clots and leg edema.


Follow these steps to perform ankle pumps properly:

  • Raise your heels to move your weight to the balls of your feet.
  • Squeeze your calf muscles for one second from a comfortable standing position. To avoid cramping, don't squeeze too hard or too tightly.
  • Repeat three times for a total of 20 reps.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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