For overall health and well-being, maintaining a well-functioning circulatory system is vital. Knowing how to improve circulation can support long-term cardiovascular health, better absorption of nutrients and oxygen through the bloodstream, and improved physical and mental health. By contrast, poor circulation can have a range of negative effects. As medical journal Circulation noted in a study, “High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of mortality worldwide.” While genetic predisposition is often a factor, research has found that taking steps to reduce risks and improve circulation shouldn’t be overlooked. Keep reading to see five ways to improve your circulation and overall health.
1. Get Moving
It may come as no surprise that physical activity leads to improved wellness, but the impact of cardiovascular exercise on circulatory health is well worth reiterating. Studies have shown that high-intensity interval training is especially beneficial for keeping your heart and circulatory system in good condition.
2. Quit Smoking
While there are many reasons to quit smoking, cardiovascular health is definitely near the top of the list. Since tobacco inhibits the level of oxygen the blood is able to carry, interferes with antioxidants, and contributes to higher blood pressure, quitting the habit can work wonders for improving your circulation.
We’re all familiar with the benefits of exfoliation for smooth, healthy skin, but this simple beauty habit can also help to get your blood moving. Using a loofah or body brush to scrub the skin can help stimulate blood flow and improve circulation throughout the body.
4. Up Your Iron Intake
Hemoglobin is a key element of a healthy circulatory system, and one of its primary functions is transporting oxygen to cells through the bloodstream. Iron helps to support the natural production of hemoglobin and can be found in a variety of foods such as spinach, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, figs, and more.
5. Drink More Tea
Teas that are rich in antioxidants (including green tea and white tea) have been linked to showing a very positive effect on cardiovascular health. In addition to helping with the natural dilation of the arteries, tea has been shown to improve circulation and increase blood flow. Consuming tea regularly may also help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Now that you know how to improve circulation, read on for three workouts for people who hate working out.
Pazoki R, Dehghan A, Evangelou E, et al. Genetic predisposition to high blood pressure and lifestyle factors: associations with midlife blood pressure levels and cardiovascular events. Circulation. 2018;137(7):653-661. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030898
Weston KS, Wisløff U, Coombes JS. High-intensity interval training in patients with lifestyle-induced cardiometabolic disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2014;48(16):1227-1234. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092576
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Abbaspour N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R. Review on iron and its importance for human health. J Res Med Sci. 2014;19(2):164–174.
Harvard Health Publishing. Flavanoids: the secret to health benefits of drinking black and green tree. Updated May 21, 2018.