As you age, your risk of heart and circulatory diseases increases, making it all the more important to maintain cardiovascular health. But why wait for bad news from the doctor? Instead, you can start taking better care of your circulatory system today with the help of Vingo!
To help you prevent health problems like heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease, consider adding these four exercises for blood circulation to your daily routine.
What is the importance of proper circulation for your health?
Your body’s circulatory system (also known as your cardiovascular system) is made up of your heart, blood, and blood vessels. It plays a vital role in your overall health because it transports oxygen and essential nutrients to your cells while also hauling away waste products from your cell’s veins.
If your circulatory system becomes blocked with fatty substances like cholesterol, the blood flow to your vital organs is limited, causing other health problems. In some instances, pieces of plaque buildup in your arteries can even break away and cause potentially fatal blood clots in your circulatory system.
Maintaining the health of your cardiovascular system protects you from circulatory disease, which encompasses heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other related conditions.
What are the signs of poor circulation?
Poor circulation means your arteries don’t carry enough oxygen and nutrients to various body parts. As a result, you can experience symptoms all over your body, including:1,2
- Muscle pain when walking
- Pale or bluish skin
- Cold fingers or toes
- Numbness or the sensation of pins and needles under your skin
- Chest pain
- Bulging veins
- Digestive problems
- Varicose veins
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor and have them check your heart health and circulation.
What causes poor circulation?
There are several possible causes of poor circulation. Some of the most common include:2
- Obesity: Being overweight can make it more difficult for your body to circulate blood to your brain, extremities, and other body parts.3
- High blood pressure: When the force of blood on your artery walls is consistently too high, your arteries can become damaged and weaken over time, making it harder for your blood to move through them.
- Smoking: Regularly smoking tobacco products can narrow your blood vessels and increase your risk of plaque buildup (called atherosclerosis) in your arteries, further limiting blood flow.4
- Diabetes: If you have too much glucose in your blood, it can damage your blood vessels over time and cause atherosclerosis.5
How can you improve your blood circulation?
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your blood circulation. Although specific exercises for blood circulation won’t wholly solve or cure complex circulatory conditions caused by things like diabetes or smoking tobacco, they can certainly still help. Exercise forces your heart to pump faster and increases the blood flow around your body. And whether you’re young or old, you can still reap the benefits!
Research indicates that regular exercise in younger individuals can lower resting heart rate and increase the heart’s efficiency as it pumps to protect against heart disease as they age. Similarly, regular exercise improves the heart function of individuals in their 60s and 70s and dramatically reduces their risk for heart attacks and other coronary events.6
Regular exercise also helps you achieve or maintain healthy body weight, reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and improving your overall heart health.
In addition to incorporating exercises for blood circulation into your regular routine, there are other effective ways to improve circulation, including:
- Quitting smoking: Dropping tobacco products will drastically decrease your heart attack and stroke risk.
- Eating a healthy diet: Watching what you eat will reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes, which both contribute to hindered blood circulation.
- Managing your blood sugar levels: The best way to manage your blood sugar is to monitor your sugar intake. This will help keep blood sugar levels within normal limits and prevent long-term damage to your blood vessels.
- Taking medications: This treatment option isn’t ideal, but your doctor may prescribe prescription drugs to improve your circulation. This is typically a last resort when other preventative options aren’t enough to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Doing all these things will drastically improve your blood circulation and enhance the way you look and feel. In short, there’s nothing to lose!
4 Exercises that improve blood circulation
Perhaps the best part of exercising to improve your blood circulation is that you’re not constrained to one specific type of movement. Most types of exercise will be wonderful for your heart health and circulation, and you’ll also benefit from other perks, like improved mental health, weight loss, and better sleep.
However, our top recommended exercises for blood circulation include the following:
Walking is an excellent exercise for blood circulation because it gets your heart pumping and pushes more blood through your blood vessels and body. Plus, it only takes about 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking daily to improve circulation. And if you keep it up, you’ll improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen your heart to reduce your risk of many health complications.
Fortunately, it’s easy to get outside for a walk most days! Whether you start your day with a brisk morning walk or use your lunch break to get some fresh air, you can walk anywhere, at any time.
Jogging or running
Running is another great exercise for blood circulation. It raises your heart rate, enhances blood flow, and helps you build cardio endurance and prevent cardiovascular disease.7
Like walking, going on a jog or run is completely free and easily accessible, except for possibly investing in a good pair of running shoes. Jogging can be more palatable and easy on the body if you’re just getting started. You can also alternate between jogging and brisk walking until you’re ready to do more.
And if running outside isn’t your cup of tea, you can always run indoors on a treadmill with Vingo! Create your one-of-a-kind avatar with a selfie and get out and explore the world from home. You’ll encounter gorgeous scenery, exciting landscapes, and fascinating cultural attractions as you run through fantastic routes in virtual locations like Iceland and Japan. And to add to it, you can even jog or run alongside your friends using Vingo’s real-time chat feature!
Looking for alternative exercises for blood circulation? Trick yourself into working out with a fun dance class! Dance is a fantastic way to boost cardiovascular health and blood flow. Although you can dance at home on your own, Zumba, ballroom, and salsa dancing classes are alternative ways to get social with it too.
Yoga is a mind-body practice incorporating deep breathing exercises and gentle movements to boost circulation and stimulate your heart. Deep diaphragmatic breathing relaxes your body but also pushes blood flow to your chest and into your heart to enhance circulation.
You can find guided yoga sessions online or in-person (free or paid) and complete them on your own or with friends. Like walking, running, and dancing, you can do yoga almost anywhere, and it doesn’t require any special equipment or expertise. It’s very beginner-friendly!
Key Takeaways:Completing exercises for blood circulation can boost your cardiovascular health and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other related conditions. Aerobic activities like walking, running, and dancing are all great for healthy circulation, and doing them regularly can also improve your general health and well-being.
- Professional, C. C. M. (n.d.-b). Poor Circulation. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21882-poor-circulation#symptoms-and-causes
- Barhum, L. (2023, January 3). What to know about poor circulation. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322371
- Knight, S. P., Laird, E., Williamson, W., O’Connor, J. K., Newman, L., Carey, D. I., De Looze, C., Fagan, A. J., Chappell, M. A., Meaney, J. F., & Kenny, R. A. (2021). Obesity is associated with reduced cerebral blood flow – modified by physical activity. Neurobiology of Aging, 105, 35–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.04.008
- How Smoking Affects the Heart and Blood Vessels | NHLBI, NIH. (2022, March 24). NHLBI, NIH. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/heart/smoking
- An, Y., Kang, Y., Lee, J., Ahn, C. W., Kwon, K., & Choi, C. (2018). Blood flow characteristics of diabetic patients with complications detected by optical measurement. Biomedical Engineering Online, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12938-018-0457-9
- Talbot, L. A., Morrell, C. H., Metter, E. J., & Fleg, J. L. (2002). comparison of cardiorespiratory fitness versus leisure time physical activity as predictors of coronary events in men aged ≤65 years and >65 years. American Journal of Cardiology, 89(10), 1187–1192. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0002-9149(02)02302-0
- Lee, D., Pate, R. R., Lavie, C. J., Sui, X., Church, T. S., & Blair, S. N. (2014). Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 64(5), 472–481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058