The Basics - How To Improve Poor Circulation

Poor circulation has been shown to have profound effects on your overall health – from your mental health to your immune system, all your body functions are optimized through improved blood circulation – if you need more information, check this post out – it gets into more detail. 

In order to fix a problem, we need to be able to identify the problem – to that end, here’s a list (absolutely not comprehensive, please see your doctor if you feel you need medical attention) of the most common symptoms indicating you may suffer from poor circulation:

  • Lack of energy or concentration
  • Numb or cold extremities (hands/feet)
  • Weak or delayed healing response or weak immune system
  • Erectile Dysfunction (in men)

Not on the list, but an ABSOLUTE factor is prolonged sitting.  This is a bit of a sidebar, but sitting (in long periods) can lead to poor blood flow and development of clots.  It’s pretty simple but we’ll go over it just in case.  If you aren’t moving, your muscles aren’t moving.  When your muscles stop moving your circulation slows.  Slow blood flow allows for plaque to clog arteries creating additional medical issues such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.  In case you haven’t been paying attention, those are very bad.  Even scarier, simply sitting for long periods allows for blood to pool in your lower legs which increases your chances to develop varicose veins and/or blood clots called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

The good news is that simple changes to your lifestyle can have massive effect on your circulation!

  • Increased Cardiovascular Exercise. This one is pretty simple, but we’ll spell it out anyway – cardio is good.  Running, biking, walking or swimming are all good for your circulation.
  • Quit Smoking. This one should be obvious for a whole host of reasons, but smoking is bad.  It inhibits blood flow which is the exact opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish with improving your circulation.
  • Drink Black or Green Tea. Antioxidants in tea help to increase the width of your blood vessels, which makes pumping blood much easier. 
  • Decrease Stress. If only it were that easy, right!?  If you make time for exercises like yoga and meditation, or simply spending quality time with friends and family you’ll see a noticeable drop in your stress levels… which will help increase your circulation.
  • More Omega-3s. Supplements or fish (like salmon).  Omega-3s improve your blood flow and boost heart health.
  • Watch Your Weight. Poor circulation and those extra pounds go hand in hand.  The more weight you carry around, the harder your heart and circulatory system need to work in order keep blood pumping through your body. 
  • Hydrate. This one seems pretty obvious, but the more water you drink the easier your blood is able to flow.  Add more to your intake if you’re working out or if you’ve been out on a hot day. 
  • Get Moving. It doesn’t have to be a full cardio session, but getting up and moving – even for 5 minutes – goes a long way in increasing your blood flow.  We touched on how bad sitting for long periods of time can be – this is how you combat that, especially if you’re in a job that requires desk work.  Make a point to get up and move around throughout your day to prevent reduced blood flow and pooling.
  • Wear Compression Socks. Especially graduated compression socks to help force blood from your feet/ankles up into your heart.  They can also reduce swelling and prevent muscle fatigue in those who are pregnant and/or on their feet all day. 

When it comes to compression socks, you’re going to want to look at knee high compression socks, or over-the-calf compression socks to help with circulation.  The height of the socks means they’re able to provide support and graduated compression up your lower leg, which will help force blood from your legs and back to your heart. 

The easiest way to wear compression socks, is to find some that you actually like and find comfortable.  Simple, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who understand the benefits of compression socks but won’t wear them because they don’t like the way they look, or how they feel.  Hey, we get it, it’s the reason we make compression socks after all!  But finding socks you like, and feel comfortable will make wearing them a whole lot easier.  Collective Socks offers some unique compression sock designs that won’t break the bank… and 20% of every sale is donated to our charity partners, like St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.