Boston2:27Your body relies on adequate blood circulation to keep it functioning properly and free of disease. Your blood makes sure that plenty of oxygen gets to your heart and all of your other internal organs, as well as your skin. Poor circulation can result in heart and kidney disease, among other conditions. One of the best ways to ensure you have good circulation is to move. The best way to do this is to exercise.

Why is Exercise Important
Exercise increases your heart rate. If you have ever worn a heart rate monitor, or checked your heart rate on a piece of gym equipment, you know that increased movement equals an increase in heart rate. This indicates that your heart is working a bit harder than when you are sedentary. When your heart muscle works harder it pumps more blood through your vessels and increases your circulation. This results in more oxygen circulating through your body.

Exercises to Increase Circulation
Cardio: Walking is the best place to start for increasing circulation. You don’t need to sprint or even power walk. Just walking 30 minutes 5 days a week will jump start your circulation. You can eventually work your way up to more intense cardio. Add in rebounding, cycling indoors or outside, and swimming. If you are already pretty fit and doing cardio, consider entering some races for charitable causes. Running or cycling with a group tends to bring out everyone’s competitive side, offering a more intense workout.

Yoga: Yoga poses are lower impact than cardio, but just as effective in boosting blood circulation. By doing a series of poses, such as 5 to 10 repetitions of Sun Salutations, you are placing your body in positions that cause the blood to flow in several directions. You are also stretching your muscles and opening up your joints to allow for the blood and oxygen to enter these areas more effectively. While doing yoga, be mindful of your breathing, as this will also increase circulation.

Strength Training: Strength training builds muscle mass, which assists your lymphatic and cardiovascular systems in performing better. You don’t need to be bench pressing 175 pound dumbbells to achieve the desired effectiveness. Start with lifting light hand weights 2 or 3 sessions per work. Increase the weights slowly over time. Listen to your body and recognize when you are at your optimal lifting weight in pounds. Start with 15 minute sessions and work up to 30 – 60 minutes, with breaks to allow for your muscles to recover.

Ideally, you will combine cardio, low impact, and strength training into your exercise routine for increased blood circulation. Wearing a heart rate monitor to keep an eye on your pulse is a good idea. You want increased circulation, but you do not want your rate to be too high. Dial it back when necessary. And always take a day off to allow your body to rest and recover.

As with any exercise regimen, consult with your health care professional to make sure you are in good enough condition to incorporate new activities. If possible, have him or her help you map out a plan or timeline to appropriately and safely increase your activity level.