Lack of blood circulation in the legs can cause a lot of problems, including pain, aching, leg muscle weakness, and of course, vein issues. Thanks to gravity, your legs must act like a second heart, pumping used blood through the veins back to the heart. Leg movement helps this process work, so if you sit too long, blood may pool and cause aches and pains. Here are 5 ways to keep your “second heart” pumping:
- Take a short walk. This is one of the simplest ways to get blood flowing again. On an airplane, stroll up and down the aisles. Take the stairs instead of the escalator. Park a little farther from the stores when shopping. Get up from your desk and wander the halls for a few minutes.
- Heel-toe raises. First, raise your toes in the air with your heel still touching the floor. Then lift your heels with your toes still touching the floor. This move will get blood pumping again and it’s a great way to get rid of the tingling or numbness you may feel when sitting for a long time.
- If you can, add swimming to your exercise regimen. Swimming works many muscle groups without putting stress on the joints and serves as a cardiovascular workout, too.
- Eat healthy. A good mix of fruits and vegetables will help keep blood flowing. In particular, try some of these “circulation-boosting” foods: oranges, tomatoes, salmon, garlic, ginger, avocados, watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricots, Goji berries, sunflower seeds.
- Stop smoking. Cigarette smoke narrows blood vessel walls and decreases blood flow. This is also true of secondhand smoke, so avoid standing near smokers when possible.