Keep the blood flowing this winter for better health
During winter we often hear from our patients that they are suffering from cold hands and feet, chilblains, more frequent muscle cramps or lethargy. These are all symptoms that may be caused by poor circulation.
So why is having good circulation important?
- It allows good flow of blood and oxygen to your body’s tissues and organs so it can function optimally
- It allows you to focus and concentrate well by delivering good supply of oxygen to the brain
- It maintains energy levels by delivering important nutrients and hormones to the tissues of the body
- It controls heat around the body, constricting or dilating blood vessels as needed to keep you cool or warm
- It helps to rid the body of toxins and waste products
- It is important for injury healing by enabling blood clotting
- It transports white blood cells for good immune function
Tips to improve your circulation
- Exercise – brisk, aerobic exercise like walking, swimming or cycling will help to get your blood pumping. Exercises like squats, lunges and push-ups involving compression and release of different parts of the body can be especially beneficial
- Stretching – just a few minutes of stretching to help break up sedentary postures can have a great effect on your circulation. Even better, yoga combines many of the great effects of stretching and exercise.
- Diet – foods containing flavonoids are known to have a positive effect on circulation including onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, grapes, cherries and blueberries. Fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel) containing omega-3 is also great for heart health.
- Osteopathic treatment – osteo helps to improve circulation through treating restrictions to blood and lymphatic flow in the musculoskeletal system using soft tissue massage, stretching and gentle joint mobilisation.
- Elevate your legs
- Drink enough water
- Drink green tea
- Decrease stress
- Breathing exercises
- Skin brushing
- Hot and cold showers
- Manage health conditions and other causes that may lead to poor circulation such as high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, obesity, anemia, untreated blood clots, uncontrolled diabetes and smoking.
What’s more, fish oil supplements are linked to reduced high blood pressure and improved blood flow in skeletal muscle during and after exercise. For example, in a study in 10 healthy men, high doses of fish oil — 4.2 grams daily for four weeks — significantly improved blood flow to the legs after exercise.