Our bodies rely on good circulation to distribute oxygen and blood through our systems in order to keep us healthy and feeling lively. Circulation brings blood to our muscles, color to our skin, focus to our brains, and removes toxins and lactic acid. In short, having good circulation fills us with vitality.
Many of us spend hours sitting in front of computers or at desks at work; and watching television or playing video games at home. As a result, it's more important than ever to make time to stimulate our circulation.
Below are six ways to keep your blood flowing. Remember to talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program or if you have been sedentary for a long time.
Move ItPhysical activity is by far the most effective and beneficial way to increase your circulation. Do whatever you can—some movement is better than none. Walk around the block, join a group fitness class, do Tai Chi, try yoga, join a team sport, skip rope, ride a bike, throw a ball, mow the lawn or chase your dog. Move your body any way that feels good to you.
Get a MassageThe gentle pushing and pulling of your muscles by a massage therapist moves blood throughout your body, helps your muscles release lactic acid and oxygenates them—and feels wonderful.
Breathe DeeplyTake a deep breath. Notice how your body seems to sigh with relief? Most of us breathe shallowly, but breathing deeply increases the amount of oxygen circulating through our bodies. Imagine how much more circulation you'll have breathing like that all day long. You'll feel less stressed, more relaxed and you'll think more clearly.
EatIncorporate foods that have been found to increase your circulation, specifically citrus and iron-rich foods. Citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C which helps blood flow. Leafy green vegetables, beans, lentils, raisins and prunes and red meat are iron-rich foods.
Spice Up Your LifeChili peppers and some spices increase blood flow and overall circulation. Turmeric, a root also known for its anti-inflammatory qualities, can be added to all sorts of dishes for flavor and it's yellow color—or toss it into your morning smoothie. Also beneficial: ginger and cayenne.
Take a ShowerAlternating hot and cold water in your shower can jump start your circulation. Hot water causes blood to rush to your skin. Switch to cold water to send your blood rushing to your internal organs. Finish off with hot water again, flushing your organs and returning blood to your skin.
Keep moving in a fitness class.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. For more information go to jazzercise.com or call (800) FIT-IS-IT.