Today’s question is from Sophia and she asks:
“Are there any exercises for healthy circulation to my legs? I have varicose veins and also pain in my legs, which is much worse at night. They are very restless at times and it’s hard to sleep.”
I completely understand because my mom has had similar leg pains, but no varicose veins. Actually, my dad has varicose veins in the family.
I’ll quickly discuss the 3 best exercises for healthy blood flow and circulation to your legs and your entire body.
You can do them anywhere and anytime, regardless of your age or fitness level.
And it will not cost you anything!
Primary Causes Of Heart Problems
Poor blood flow and circulation are one of the primary causes of heart problems.
This is because it can lead to:
- Problems in blood pressure regulation
- Hardening and narrowing of your arteries
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels and plaque build-up
In fact, poor circulation can be a very dangerous condition because it increases the risk that blood will gather in your veins and lead to a life-threatening blood clot.
I’m very familiar with this topic because I have a family history of heart problems, which affected my own father just a couple of years ago.
So this is very important for me to share some simple and easy solutions for you, so we can help avoid any health complications for you.
Some of what “warning signs” that you may have circulation problems include
- Frequent pain and cramping in your legs
- Tingling or numbness in your feet
- Tired, aching, or weak legs and feet
- Slow-healing wounds
- Thickened toenails
- Varicose and “spider” veins
Why Circulation Is So Important
Now, improving circulation to your legs is very important because you have to pump the blood uphill to your heart… going against gravity!
When you walk, your foot and leg muscles are contracting and relaxing and basically acting like a “second heart”, to continually pump blood back up through your legs and to your heart.
Unfortunately, if you are sedentary for prolonged periods of time … like sitting for too long, on a long flight, or bedridden… Your “second heart” is inactive and blood can gather in your veins and around your ankles and this can lead to pain in the lower legs…
And the worst-case scenario it can lead to a life-threatening blood clot.
The good news is that by performing regular leg exercises, you can promote healthy blood flow from your legs to your heart and thus, help prevent blood clots and leg pain.
Exercises For Healthy Blood Flow & Circulation
I think walking is one of the best exercises you can do and almost anyone can do it, anywhere, any time of the day and it doesn’t cost you anything.
Ideally, you would walk outside in fresh air if possible. First thing morning and/or late evening are good times but, whenever you can is a better than nothing.
To start, all you need is about 15 minutes, 3x weekly. Ideally, you would work up to daily walks of about 30 minutes. And if you have pain or trouble walking, even 3 minutes is a good start. Try your best to walk just a little bit every single day.
A rebounder is basically a mini-trampoline. I like this because it is very low impact and super easy on your joints. It also helps clean your lymph nodes, which helps prevent many health problems.
I put mine in front of the TV while watching a favorite show and do it for about 10-20 minutes daily. You don’t need much at all.
By the way, you’re not trying to jump high on it and try to touch the ceiling.
You only need to go up a few inches. Just enough for your toes to be off the rebounder. It’s just a light up and down motion.
Again, almost anyone can do it, anytime and anyplace. You can even travel with it.
Body Weight Squats
This last exercise is great for building and strengthening your entire lower body … From your ankles to your leg muscles and all the way to your lower back and stomach.
You can simply use your own body weight and do sets of about 15-20 repetitions. Of course, if you’re first starting out, simply doing even 2-3 comfortable repetitions is a great start. Go down as far as you are comfortable and without pain.
Over time, as you get stronger and more flexible, you can do more repetitions and go deeper. Ideally, you would do maybe 1 set of 15 or more repetitions, 2-3x daily.
Maybe in the morning, noon and night time. More often and throughout the day helps keep the blood flow regular and continuous. And if you don’t have good coordination, simply hold onto a wall or something sturdy as you squat down.
Poor blood flow is bad for your health if affects your entire body. The best exercises for healthy circulation, especially to your legs are:
- Daily walking
- Using a rebounder
- Bodyweight squats
Of course, you should get the “okay” from your doctor before starting any exercise program. But use common sense and start slowly and build up every week – intensity, duration, and frequency.