Do you have circulation problems, high blood pressure, or pain in your legs? Improving circulation is about reducing swelling and pain in your legs and helping to improve your quality of life. Learn why having good blood flow is important, and learn the best ways to improve circulation. In this post, you will get a podiatrist’s expert recommendations on circulation boosters.
Our Adelaide-based patients often complain of not being able to walk enough without getting pain. This is significant, as the average Australian walks 20km per week. The cases of poor circulation in Australia have increased dramatically over the years, with over one million reported cases of heart disease, stroke and vascular diseases in 2019. If we can improve circulation we can dramatically reduce the incidence of such diseases.
Why it’s important to have good circulation
- Good circulation is an integral part of a healthy life. The benefits include:
- Healthy blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, allowing your lungs, heart, blood vessels and muscles to function properly and efficiently
- The ability to fight off and avoid sickness and diseases. With good circulation, the white blood cells in your immune system will be transported around the body as needed
- You’ll keep your organs and blood vessels in the best working order. Efficient circulation helps remove waste from the body created by different organs
Different ways to improve circulation in your legs
- Walking – walking is a simple, low impact exercise that helps improve circulation. Walking at any pace is beneficial to cardiovascular health to improve blood flow through the body, lower blood pressure and increase muscle contraction in your legs. Other benefits include weight loss, improved balance and is a great way to improve overall mood.
- Stretching – regularly promotes blood circulation which carries oxygen and nutrients to your organs and muscles that are necessary for proper function, movement and flexibility.
- Position your body/elevate legs- crossing your legs when you sit may lead to poor circulation in your legs. Try sitting with legs spaced slightly apart and your feet on the floor. Also remember to get up and move from time to time. You can also elevate your legs to improve circulation. While sleeping, elevating your legs on a pillow will help improve blood flow.
- Wearing compression socks or compression stockings – helps by improving blood flow to blood vessels and reducing swelling and pain. These mimic the internal action of walking by causing the muscles in your legs to continuously contract and relax, stimulating blood flow.
- Stop smoking – smoking can cause your feet and ankles to swell, as well as blood clot formation. It also causes decreased function of the heart which may lead to damaged blood vessels and veins in your legs due to poor circulation. Stopping smoking will lower blood pressure.
”Should I buy a circulation booster to help my feet and legs?”
“I don’t have the best circulation…”
”They’ve shown it on the telly”
Circulation Boosters- What does a Podiatrist really think?
We get asked all the time by our Adelaide clients, are circulation boosters effective? Should I get one? You normally see circulation boosters on Australian morning talk shows or late-night infomercials.They promise to improve your circulation with just 30 minutes use a day while you sit down and relax.
The idea behind a circulation booster is that it uses Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) to contract and relax your muscles, increasing blood flow to your legs and feet. Clinical Australian studies have shown that EMS improves blood flow which allows increased flexibility and reduced swelling, helping to alleviate swollen ankles or feet.
Will a circulation booster really do what it claims?
Short answer – yes, any contraction and relaxation movement of the muscles will increase blood flow to some degree. We do not think it is a sufficient circulation change long term however to warrant purchasing a unit. Although a circulation booster will slightly improve circulation in the short term, it is minimal and insignificant. You are far better off going for a walk and working on general health improvements that will assist with overall blood flow improvements.
The benefits of walking (to name a few) are
- Increased heart and lung function
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improved management of blood pressure, cholesterol, muscle pain and Diabetes
- Stronger bones
- Improved balance
- Increased muscle strength and endurance
- Reduced body fat
- Getting fresh air, Vitamin D and getting outside
- Social component- catching up with a friend or family member while you walk!
You may find a circulation booster useful if you are unable to walk. However from a Podiatrist’s perspective, if you’re able to walk for 30 minutes a day then do it. The benefits of walking, not only for your physical but also mental health, far outweigh those of the circulation booster.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you fix poor circulation?
- Exercise regularly (walk, run, bike, swim) – promotes increased blood circulation and improves cardiovascular health
- Stop smoking – decreases blood circulation
- Drink more water – to keep things flowing through your body
- Stand up or move from your desk regularly (increases oxygen and nutrient uptake)
- Use compression socks or compression stockings (squeeze your legs gently which pushes blood back towards the heart)
- Get a massage – to stimulate blood flow
What vitamins help circulation in legs?
Vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, Vitamin D, L-arginine may help improve circulation
Is lying down bad for blood circulation?
Prolonged lying down as associated with illness or injury reduces blood circulation as blood pools in the legs, lower volumes of blood are pumped through the body, the heart works harder and oxygen uptake is reduced.
What are the signs of bad circulation in your legs?
Tingling, numbness, throbbing or stinging pains, and muscle cramps. All of these are a result of poor circulation.
Does drinking water help circulation?
Yes! Staying hydrated helps circulation by improving blood flow through the body. It’s recommended that we consume between 1.5-2L of water per day.
If you are someone who is concerned about their circulation, has swelling or pain in your legs or wants to improve your quality of life we recommend seeing a Podiatrist! We are specially trained in lower limb and foot assessments, can check your blood flow and work with you to develop a plan to improve your circulation and overall function.