Improving your circulation may not be at the top of your health goals this year, but it’s integral to your well-being, and I say it deserves a spot!
You may know that blood circulation is vital for optimal blood pressure. But did you know it also plays a starring role in detoxification, energy levels, and even your body’s ability to fight off disease? It’s true.
Having good blood circulation ensures proper distribution of essential nutrients throughout your entire body. Think of your blood vessels as one huge delivery system, with oxygen and micronutrients as the deliveries. When optimal, your organs, hair, skin, muscles, nails, and beyond all receive their deliveries needed to work beautifully and effectively. When suboptimal—this delivery system is slowed or even backed up, resulting in anything from cold extremities to low energy, high blood pressure, inflammation, or heart problems. Exercise is one of the best ways to improve blood flow, but that’s not the only way to do so. Here are five ways to improve your circulation (that you will enjoy!):
1. Foam Rolling
There’s more than one reason every pro athlete has at least one of these in their home! Numerous studies show regular foam rolling can increase blood flow to soft tissue, reduce arterial stiffness, and improve endothelial function. Not to mention benefits like increased flexibility, lubricated joints, and reduced inflammation, too! Body alignment pro-Lauren Roxburgh is the creator of my favorite foam roller and has a great how-to here.
2. Legs Up the Wall (viparita karani)
Viparita Karani literally translates to inverted in action. This yoga pose is one of my favorites—and an excellent one to do after long periods of sitting, standing, when stressed, or just in need of a quick pick-me-up! Encouraging blood flow toward the upper body, this pose is also great for hemorrhoids (don’t be embarrassed—almost everyone will experience this at some point in life!)—another problem that can arise due to poor blood circulation.
To do Legs Up the Wall at home:
-Lay next to a wall sideways, getting your hip and shoulder as close to it as possible.
-Rotate your body, so your legs and feet move up the wall as you move your head away to lie down.
-Straighten your legs as much as feels good (90 degrees is the goal, but don’t force it—aim for a light stretch) and begin deep breathing.
-Hold for five to 15 minutes and enjoy!
3. Dry Brushing
This one is popular these days, and for good reason. Dry brushing is an ancient Ayurvedic practice using a dry bristle brush (like those natural-bristle shower brushes) to massage the skin. Benefits include clearer pores, increased blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, and beyond. The best way to dry brush is to use long fluid strokes on your limbs, starting from the feet and working upward—always toward the heart. Don’t forget to lighten up on more sensitive skin areas.
An oldie but a goodie, staying hydrated is crucial for just about all things health—including optimal circulation. In fact, dehydration can directly restrict blood flow throughout the body and can even cause damage to endothelial cells. Aim to get half your body weight in ounces of water daily. (Trust me, I know it isn’t an easy one—but it’s so worth it if you can achieve this goal most days!)
5. Infrared Sauna
You’ve likely heard of the many benefits sauna sessions boast, including detoxification, relaxation, glowing skin, weight loss. Still, you might be surprised to hear that it is also an excellent way to boost your circulation. When done regularly, sauna sessions dilate your blood vessels, similar to how your blood vessels respond to exercise. No, I’m not saying replace tomorrow’s workout with a sauna session, but I’m not saying not to either 😉
Just as important to overall health as sleeping, eating, and exercising is maintaining proper blood flow throughout the body. It may not always be top of mind, but it’s a foundational piece of your overall health and wellness. If you’re interested in more self-care or diet practices that help boost circulation, book a one-on-one with me today!