If your extremities feel numb, tingly and cold, you may not always think of exercise as the cure, but it is an important part. These problems can be signs of poor circulation, along with swelling feet and ankles or discolored skin.
Circulation problems must be taken seriously. Poor circulation slows blood flow and limits the oxygen being delivered to cells. It can cause slow healing, fatigue and low energy.
How can you improve circulation? There are several steps that medical professionals recommend, including proper hydration, healthy diet, wearing compression socks and an exercise program.
How Exercise Improves Circulation
Your circulatory system centers around your heart. It’s the engine that generates blood flow. The heart is a muscle and it gets stronger when you exercise it. The stronger your heart, the better the blood flow should be.
If you have circulation problems in your legs, ankles and feet, don’t limit exercise only to affected areas. Any kind of general exercise will improve overall health, increase cardiac strength and help circulation. You should always consult with a doctor before beginning a new exercise regime.
How Your Local Gym Can Help
It’s possible to exercise without leaving home. However, now that health clubs and gyms are reopening after being limited for much of 2020, it might be time to enjoy their unique advantages.
- You profit from encouragement of the staff and others exercising around you.
- A regular gym schedule builds routine and accountability.
- Gym machines offer variety and resistance not found at home.
Where To Start
When you look at all the equipment, it can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Which machines can help with circulation? These are principles to keep in mind.
- Get your heart rate elevated to a safe level.
- With machines, favor lighter weights and more reps.
- Maintain good form. Even if you’re doing a leg exercise, your entire body has work to do.
- Ask! Most clubs offer orientation and can explain machines and how to use them. You can also begin by working with a personal trainer so you know you’re exercising safely.
Few things are as good for circulation as walking. Consider treadmills, elliptical machines and step machines. Vary speed and slope to work your heart and other muscles in many ways.
Class camaraderie is a great motivator. During Pilates or yoga poses, go at your own pace and stick to what feels right for your body. Bring the same attitude to motion classes such as bicycle spinning, step and Zumba.
Any machine can help, but here are some to consider.
- Leg flexion and leg extension machines. With these it’s especially important not to load up the weight.
- There are two kinds of rowing machines: one where you are still motionless and pull weight toward you, and another, low to the floor, where your entire body moves. Both are beneficial to circulation.
- The cable exerciser looks like an upper body machine, but it benefits your heart and with proper form you work the entire body.
- Overhead push ups and pull down machines are great heart exercises.
Your gym routine can include non-machine simple exercises. Exercises to improve circulation in feet such as toe raises, lifts, points and curls are perfect to warm up before using a machine. You also can use the exercise ball by squatting and rising with it between your back and the wall.
Should You Wear Compression Socks in the Gym?
Absolutely! It’s especially beneficial to wear them while walking on the treadmill or using the stair machine. With the variety of colors and patterns available today, you can find the perfect pair to go with every gym outfit.
- Almost any exercise will naturally improve blood circulation.
- Gyms have special advantages for starting and maintaining programs.
- Keep weight moderate and maintain good form.
- Compression socks help both in the gym and for all-day use.