You’ll look and feel your best when your blood flows efficiently throughout your body. Without good circulation, you may experience minor side effects, like cold hands and feet and blotchy skin, or more significant ones, such as headaches, shortness of breath, hair loss, and memory problems.
If you are experiencing serious circulation problems, the best thing that you can do is visit your doctor. But, there are also things that you can do at home–on your own or under a doctor’s supervision–to improve your blood flow. Three of the best home remedies for poor circulation are drinking plenty of water, getting good exercise, and quitting smoking.
Water is one of the main components in blood. Hydration, therefore, is essential to good circulatory health.
Men need about 13 cups of fluid every day. Women need about nine. This doesn’t have to be just water; rather, it can include all of the liquid that you drink. Just keep in mind, however, that caffeine and alcohol can have dehydrating effects on your body, so although they can be counted toward your total daily intake, they shouldn’t make up the bulk of it.
Another good source of hydration is the food that you eat, especially fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, strawberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe are some of the best sources of water are in the produce aisle so make these and other fruits and veggies a regular part of your diet.
They don’t call exercise “getting your blood pumping” for nothing. Being physically active does wonders for your circulation. That’s because fitness improves your cardiovascular system, which in turn helps blood move through your body more efficiently.
It doesn’t have to be fancy exercise; anything that boosts your heart rate will do the trick. Walking is an easy, user-friendly place to start. Lace up your sneakers for 20 minutes to half an hour of walking, indoors or out, per day.
If you’d rather tap your toes, though, go for it. Dancing and other aerobic exercises will elevate your heart rate to an effective rate as well: include treadmill running, swimming, and cycling.
Strength training can help, too. Incorporate weight lifting exercises into your routine several times a week. If you don’t have weights, you can even do equipemtn-free strengthening exercises, like wall push-ups and side planks, to boost your physical strength and improve your circulation.
If you are a smoker, the very best thing you can do to improve your circulation is to put out that cigarette. Smoking has a number of detrimental effects on your circulatory system. It thickens your blood, tightens your arteries, and bumps up your blood pressure. Smoking can even make you more prone to blood clots.
Within just a couple of hours of stopping smoking, your hands and feet will experience better blood flow. After two weeks of being smoke-free, your overall circulation will have improved.
One critical step in quitting smoking is to have a strong driving force that motivates the change. Perhaps for you, better circulation and improved overall health will be part of your motivation.
Willpower alone is rarely enough, however. It’s also a good idea to have a support system around you, including your doctor, friends and family, and a group of like-minded people who are also working on quitting smoking, such as an online or in-person support group.