Medical professionals emphasize that boosting your circulation is extremely helpful. Circulation is the constant movement of blood around the body. It has healing powers, keeps your heart healthy, and provides your skin with a healthy glow. In addition, the circulation of blood helps all of the organs within your body function correctly.

Legs that don’t have good circulation can lead to numerous health issues. For example, you may find yourself in constant leg pain, have swollen legs, or develop varicose veins across your legs. Understanding how to promote consistent circulation through the legs daily is crucial for your overall health and wellness. Here’s a breakdown of why leg circulation is important and how you can work to improve it.

Signs and symptoms of poor leg circulation

Multiple symptoms occur when you experience poor leg circulation. You may want to speak to your doctor if you notice one or more of the following signs:

  • constant cold feet;
  • numbness or tingling in the legs and/or feet;
  • muscle cramps;
  • swollen legs or feet;
  • varicose veins.

Other factors that can cause the blood flow in your lower legs not to circulate properly may be insufficient exercise, smoking, leg injuries, and extensive periods of sitting or laying down.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor and find out what you can do to improve it. If you ignore the indications, you could experience more severe health conditions such as a blood clot, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

Why is leg circulation important?

Your circulatory system consists of blood vessels that carry blood throughout your body. Your blood delivers nutrients and oxygen, removes waste, and keeps your body functioning. If your blood isn’t able to pump through the body, it can cause many health problems.

The leg muscles are one of the bigger muscles within your body, and they help regulate and ensure consistent blood flow by expanding and contracting at a specific pressure. In addition, the calf muscle has a pump that helps deliver the blood back up to the heart and is even referred to as the second heart.

When circulation is compromised, it can cause problems with blood flowing correctly through the legs. Bringing the blood back from the lower parts of your body is more challenging because it has to go upwards. If you sit for an extended period, you are, in a sense, cutting off some of that circulation back up to the heart.

How to improve leg circulation

There are multiple steps you can take to improve your leg circulation on your own at home, without the need for physical therapy or a doctor referral. Some things that you can do that are most helpful include:

  • stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your blood volume at a decent level and will, in turn, aid in maintaining better circulation. You should aim for eight glasses of water every day and avoid too many dehydrating beverages such as alcohol or caffeine;
  • get some exercise. Physical activity and movement are the best ways to help improve circulation, especially within your legs. Any body movement creates blood flow, and exercise helps raise your heart rate, making blood flow faster through your body;
  • if you’re not sure where to start with exercise, try some short beginner exercises, or consult with your doctor on what type of exercise may be best for you that will help to boost your leg circulation. For example, simply walking or stretching for 20 minutes or more a day can help make a difference!
  • quit smoking. If you’re a smoker, you should think about quitting as soon as possible. Nicotine in tobacco harms your blood vessels and increases the risk of poor circulation, which leads to more severe health issues, including the risk of heart attack and stroke;
  • talk to your doctor about quitting, and ask for assistance. Multiple methods and techniques can help you to stop smoking for good;
  • wear compression socks. Many people are unaware of compression sock benefits. Compression socks or stockings are made to improve your blood flow, reduce pain and swelling and promote healthy circulation to your legs. If you often sit throughout the day, consider investing in some compression socks that will put pressure on your leg muscles and help to stimulate blood flow;
  • check your blood pressure. High blood pressure strains your arteries, which causes more likelihood of poor circulation. Have your blood pressure checked regularly and seek treatment if you have high blood pressure;
  • managing your stress. Stress and anxiety can have side effects on your health, including affecting your circulation. Work to make stressful situations or triggers that make you feel anxious more manageable, either by working with your doctor or taking medications. Other helpful holistic techniques include deep breathing, meditation, listening to music, finding a distraction, and changing your diet;
  • stand up. If you sit often or for long periods, make a habit of getting up regularly. The position of sitting, even more with your legs crossed, cuts off circulation to your legs and makes it more challenging for the blood to flow freely.

If you do sit often throughout the day, try these tips for sitting that can help to promote better circulation:

  • sit with your legs slightly elevated, such as on a stool, pillow, or ottoman;
  • sit with your legs spaced out and your feet on the floor;
  • prop your legs up with a pillow when lying down.

Reduce your risk of poor leg circulation

Changes within your lifestyle can help substantially reduce poor leg circulation. Even though our heart does its job naturally, it can be beneficial to support it by incorporating healthy, sustainable habits that will improve your circulation.

It is possible that even by working through all of the steps above, you don’t find relief for the pain, swelling, and poor circulation of your legs. If you have any concerns about the circulation in your legs and what you can do to help improve it, talk to your doctor about seeing a vascular specialist, and work to boost circulation to aid in your health and wellness.