Heart Smart Habits for Better Blood Flow

senior couple walking Good circulation is essential for staying healthy from head to toe – literally! It is your blood’s job to carry necessary nutrients to all parts of your body, so if blood flow is impaired, your blood will struggle to deliver what your body needs, especially considering how far it has to go to reach your extremities. The fact is, poor circulation can lead to serious health complications, including chronic swelling, numbness, ulcerations and even amputation.

Smoking, obesity, and underlying conditions such as peripheral arterial disease and diabetes, can all have damaging effects on blood flow. However, you can reduce – and sometimes even eliminate –  your risk of circulatory, or vascular, health issues by making just a few lifestyle changes.

Blood circulation starts with your heart, so it makes sense that heart smart habits will help to boost your blood flow. Here is a list of healthy habits you should start, as well as others you should try to break:

Don’t smoke – and while you’re at it, avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible! The chemicals in tobacco damage blood cells as well as the structure and function of your blood vessels, narrowing passageways with plaque and creating dangerous blockages.   

Get regular exercise – staying active keeps your body moving, your heart pumping and thus, your blood flowing. In addition, exercise helps to reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight, two other major factors that affect your vascular wellbeing.

Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet – not only does this help with weight, but also in controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure which are crucial contributors to your circulation health.

Enjoy:

  • Whole grains
  • Lean meat, poultry and fish
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Fresh veggies and fruit
  • High fiber options

Limit:

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

Skip:

  • Processed foods
  • High-sugar drinks
  • Saturated and Trans Fats

Get plenty of sleep – giving your body time to recover, recoup and regenerate is good for your overall health and provides you with the energy to get out there and exercise.  

Don’t sit for long periods of time – especially with your legs crossed! This inhibits your blood’s ability to travel freely. Take breaks and get up and move from time to time.

Opt for a warm bath instead of a shower – warm water is great for circulation, plus, it relaxes you and reduces stress!

Get a massage – what a rough habit to have to start, huh? Massage helps with relaxation and also promotes good blood flow. Besides, you deserve it after all your hard work with your diet and fitness routines!

If you need any help making these lifestyle changes or have any questions, call the MSA vascular experts at 231-739-9461. We’re here and committed to helping you stay healthy.

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