8 Ways to Improve Your Circulation

Hands and feet always cold? Or maybe you get pins and needles when you sit with your legs crossed for too long? Here's how to get your blood pumping again.

Are your hands and feet always cold?

Or maybe you get pins and needles when you sit with your legs crossed for too long? These are common signs of poor circulation, but these symptoms often get dismissed as unavoidable. But, good circulation is critical to good health and even more important as you age.

When left unchecked, bad circulation can lead to unwanted vanity issues like more noticeable cellulite, varicose veins, and less youthful looking skin. But it can also lead to serious health issues like hypertensions, hardened arteries, blood clots, strokes, and even organ failure. When your blood isn't pumping properly, it means your organs aren't getting all the nutrients they need to function. Overtime this can lead to serious damage.

Luckily there are plenty of easy and even fun ways you get your blood moving and your circulation back in balance. Here are a few good circulation habits to adopt for better skin and healthier organs as you age:

Eat the Right Foods

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There are plenty of whole foods, herbs, and spices that promote good circulation. Natural blood thinners like garlic, onions, and ginger help get your blood moving. You can also include more warming spices like turmeric and cayenne in your diet. These anti-inflammatory spices are full of powerful antioxidants and also act as natural blood thinners.

Your circulation also improves when you eat foods rich in omega 3's, like wild caught salmon, nuts, and seeds. Red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and watermelon are full of the antioxidant lycopene which is known to help promote better circulation. Incorporating more of all these natural blood thinners in your diet can help you keep a more stable body temperature and get blood pumping to all of your vital organs.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

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Not drinking enough fluids is one of the worst things you can do for your circulation and your skin. Chronic dehydration slows your blood flow way down. It's also one of the fastest ways to age your skin aside from smoking. If you're frustrated with lack luster skin, try drinking a gallon of water a day and see how quickly it starts glowing. You'll also feel more energized.

Water is important to flush toxins out of your body and get your blood pumping again. Also consider drinking more green tea. The antioxidants in green tea promotes better cardiovascular health which can lead to better circulation.

At Home Hydrotherapy

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You might have given hydrotherapy a try at a spa, but you can also easily do it at home. Hydrotherapy is water therapy where you alternate between hot and cold temperatures. It's used in saunas and steam rooms but can also be done in your own shower.

Alternating between hot and cold water 5-6 times draws more blood to your skin's surface (while it's hot) which oxygenates your tissues. When you switch the water to cold your blood rushes back to your internal organs, flushing out toxins on the way.

Dry Brushing

Dry brush optionsCaptial Fm

Dry brushing exfoliates your skin and stimulates circulation and lymph flow. It's all the rage in wellness right now because it's a cheap and effective way to improve the condition of your skin. Like hydrotherapy, dry brushing brings more blood to the skin's surface which brings more oxygenated blood to your skins tissues. Move a natural bristle, dry brush in long, light, sweeping strokes towards your heart. Start at your feet and work your way up.

Gwyneth Paltrow is a huge fan of dry brushing to minimize the appearance of cellulite. Drawing more blood to larger areas like your hips and thighs with dry brushing can make a huge difference in your skin's ability to regenerate as you age. Circulation naturally slows down the older we get; giving it a little help goes a long way in maintaining the condition of your skin and internal organs.

Massage

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Here's an enjoyable and relaxing way to get your blood flowing. Regular massage helps move your lymph and if done consistently, can dramatically improve your circulation. Pushing, kneading, and pulling releases lactic acid and moves stuck lymph which speeds up blood flow. When self massaging, remember to start from your feet and move all strokes towards your heart.

Exercise

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If you're only going to adopt one new habit to help improve your circulation, make it more consistent exercise. Even 10 minutes a day can make a big difference to the quality of your blood flow. Exercise gets your heart pumping, which makes oxygenated blood start flowing faster.

Go for a walk, a run, or try these at home fitness trends. Don't forget to stretch! While exercise gets your blood pumping, stretching lengthens and oxygenates your muscles. A killer combo for better circulation is: exercise, stretch, dry brush before showering, and then alternate between hot and cold water 5-6 times in the shower.

Elevate Your Legs

Elevating legs after yogaChris Andre/Yoga Journal

Put your feet up! Elevating your legs above your head and heart makes blood rush back towards your heart. Raising your feet once a day for 10-20 minutes is great for your circulation. Grab a pillow and a good book, and lay back with your legs elevated against a wall for support.

Try Acupuncture

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If you already eat blood boosting foods, exercise regularly, and still always feel cold, get light headed, or wake up before your limbs do, you might want to consider acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to boost circulation and reduce inflammation in the body.

Studies have shown that nitric oxide increases around the acupuncture needles inserted in your skin, which means more blood is flowing to those areas. When the needles are removed, stuck lymph and blood flow starts moving again. When done regularly, acupuncture can even rebalance more serious circulation issues.