Are you concerned about the symptoms of poor circulation? Do you experience cold hands and feet regularly, or do they feel sluggish and look pale? Do you get pain in your lower legs or experience swollen ankles?
Poor circulation is a common problem, and it gets even more common as you get older, but that doesn’t make it less painful.
Thankfully, there are plenty of steps that you can take to improve your circulation, which can be especially helpful at this time of year!
We wrote about the benefits of taking long relaxing baths last month. An additional benefit is that exposing your skin to the heat of a warm bath can trigger a widening of your blood vessels, which allows your blood to flow more easily.
Click here to read about the other benefits of relaxing in the bath.
Increased water consumption
You’re probably aware that about 60% of your body is made up of water, but did you know that blood is also made up of about 50% water? Therefore, dehydration can have a negative effect on your circulation, so it’s important drink plenty of fluids – 6 to 8 glasses in fact!
Drinking hot drinks can have a similar effect to taking warm baths too!
Improve your diet
You may already have a healthy diet, which is a great start to ensuring that your circulatory system stays healthy, but there are foods that can improve your blood flow.
These include: Oranges and other citrus fruits that contain plenty of vitamin C – they are natural blood thinners and can help to strengthen capillary walls and prevent plaque build-up. Dark chocolate – cocoa contains natural flavonoids which has been linked to improving blood flow. Salmon and other oily fish – they contain omega-3 which has been shown to support the cardiovascular system, which is great for your circulation!
None of these foods are going to eradicate the symptoms of poor circulation overnight, and we’re not suggesting that you should have each of these foods with all of your meals (as tempting as that might be with dark chocolate!), but adding some of them to your diet could have a positive effect.
Staying active and sitting properly
Sitting down for an extended period can inhibit your blood flow. Unfortunately, staying active isn’t practical or possible for everyone – although you can check out our post about easy exercising for the over 50s for some useful tips about keeping active with limited mobility!
But even if regular exercise isn’t possible for you, sitting exercises like wrist and ankle circles, or even just adjusting your position regularly can help your circulation. Ensuring that you sit with your legs slightly apart as opposed to crossed can also have a positive effect.
Sitting with your feet elevated can make it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body, although you should avoid propping your feet up on a hard surface, because that could make your poor circulation worse.
We recommend a riser recliner chair. Click here to find out about the range that we can supply, and how to choose a chair that’s best suited to your situation.
Although taking the above steps can help to relieve your symptoms, poor circulation shouldn’t just be considered a minor inconvenience – if it’s left untreated, it can lead to more serious medical conditions, and if you have serious concerns you should consult a doctor.