Circulation Exercises for Hands, Feet and Legs
Poor circulation is very common. In some cases, it is a result of simply leading a sedentary lifestyle, meaning one that is lacking in regular physical activity. In other cases, it can be a result of having an occupation that requires sitting for long periods of time, with little opportunity to get up frequently from a desk. In other cases, poor circulation in legs, feet and even hands can be a result of health conditions. Regardless of the cause, there are many simple and easy circulation exercises that can be performed that can help to boost the body’s circulatory system and assist various extremities in their endeavor to send blood back up to the heart.
Atherosclerosis is a very common cause of circulatory woes. WebMD explains that the condition results in the arteries becoming narrower or hardening. This makes it much more difficult for the same volume of blood to pass through as it does in people who do not have atherosclerosis, which can lead to circulatory trouble. Long term, the condition can lead to strokes and heart attacks, and it is often referred to as a silent killer because many times, symptoms such as poor blood circulation are not abundantly evident until serious damage has been done. And, while medical care is required when serious health conditions like atherosclerosis are present, circulation exercises can help provide preventative measures against its formation in the first place, along with regular cardiovascular exercises.
When circulatory trouble is present in the hands, there are several exercises that can be performed to help to improve circulation in the almost incessantly used extremities. Yogaindailylife.org provide details for some of the exercises on their website, starting with the simple spreading fingers routine. To perform, a fist is made with the thumbs locked inside to begin. From here, the fingers are outstretched as wide as is comfortable. The process is repeated ten times as many as a couple of times each day. Other simple hand circulation exercises include wrist-bends, where the fingers are extended and the wrist is bent upwards and then downwards in repetitions of five; and fist circles, where a thumb encapsulating fist is rotated in a circular motion between five and ten times.
The lower extremities of the legs and feet are the most commonly affected by poor circulation, and there are many exercises that can be performed at random intervals throughout the day to increase blood flow in these areas. These simply motions can be used to improve circulation in the legs, and many of them can also promote relaxation as well as reduce swelling and discomfort. Livestrong.com explains that tip toeing about can be one simple and easy way to improve circulation in the legs and feet. By switching to walking on the toes as opposed to the entire foot, both stretching and circulatory benefits can be achieved. This however should only be done until fatigue comes about, and stopped immediately if any discomfort is present, as with all circulation exercises.
Subtle and simple movements that can be performed both at home and in the workplace can also be used to improve leg circulation. Onlymyhealth.com mentions several of them, starting with the very easy calf raises. Essentially, calf raises involve situating oneself near a wall or chair and bracing. From this position, the body is shifted to the toes, with the heel of the foot being raised off the ground. This position can be held for up to ten seconds, so long as no discomfort is present. Additionally, foot circles make great circulation exercises. From a sitting position, one leg at a time is outstretched, and, keeping the foot straight, (not pointed) the leg is moved around in a circular motion ten times and then done again with the other leg. Both of these options will not only help improve leg circulation but also can help to stretch and tone the legs as well.
Circulation exercises are a great supplemental tool for combating circulatory woes caused from too little activity or prolonged periods of sitting. However, they are not suitable as a sole means of poor circulation treatment. Because it is not uncommon that circulation issues are a result of underlying health conditions, those experiencing symptoms of same should seek prompt medical evaluation to rule out more sinister causes than a mere lack of physical activity. Circulation exercises should be used only for situations where improving circulation or preventing circulatory problems has been deemed safe by a medical professional. And, they should only be performed until fatigue presents and should always be discontinued if any discomfort is present.