This week, let’s investigate a key bodily function that gets very little, to no, love in the main stream “health and wellness” space, circulation.
Circulation of blood is one of the most important functions of the body. Without circulation, there is no life. This vital bodily function is regulated primarily by one of the body’s most important organs: the heart. Many of us downplay the importance of proper circulation, by making lifestyle choices that prevent its proper function. Lack of regular movement, smoking, poor diet, untreated blood clots and prolonged sitting are contributing factors to less than optimal circulation. Those of us suffering from diabetes, smoke, or are over 50 seem to be the most at risk. Read on to find out more about the benefits and risks of blood circulation and a few simple ways to improve it.
Proper circulation is required to transport many key nutrients such as oxygen and signaling molecules (hormones) around the body. Without a robust circulatory system, many of our body’s systems can’t function properly. The following are just some of the key benefits when your body is circulating properly:
- Waste removal – with good circulation, your body can collect, transport and dispose of the waste that many organs create within the body.
- Organ performance – strong circulation “feeds” your body’s key organs with all the necessary components they need to perform optimally
- Increased energy
- Reduced risk of disease
- Increased oxygenated blood flow to body (lungs, heart and other muscles to operate properly)
We’ve covered some of the key benefits or advantages of good circulation, now let’s explore some of the challenges we all face when we don’t have proper blood flow.
- Lack of energy
- Poorer performing memory, due to less oxygenated blood to the brain
- Women – hair loss (alopecia)
- Men – erectile dysfunction
- Slower wound healing – white blood cells not circulating as effectively
- Poor muscle performance, development, pain and stiffness (lack of oxygen supplied to muscles)
- Numbness or cramping in extremities
How to improve circulation:
I hope we can all agree that having proper circulation is a good thing and something we should be trying to ensure works optimally. Now, let’s take a look at a few strategies of helping our bodies achieve good blood flow:
- Movement – move your body. Get out and be physical. Whether that means going for a brisk walk, a challenging hike, dancing, riding a bike or shoveling snow… get out and move often. Ensure that some of the movement you choose, is done regularly and is physically challenging. This is not your day to day movement. This is such things as resistance training, weightlifting, brisk/speed walk, a run, swimming… not floating… swimming etc.
- Yoga – yoga is a wonderful way to increase circulation. The bending, stretching and holding of different poses does a wonderful job of using your muscles, stretching soft tissues and the compressing and decompressing of veins can really take your circulation up a notch
- Massage – massages, whether performed by a certified RMT or just a relaxing way for you and your partner to connect is a great way to relieve stress, reduce waste in your muscles and increase blood flow to the treated areas.
- Hydration – though water may not be the most exciting beverage you can consume in a day, making sure you get a lot of it in every 24hrs will help you stay hydrated, flush waste/toxins and keep your blood flowing freely. Water is where the focus needs to be… not other beverages (for more information on hydration, please see our previous article here )
- Omega 3s – who says fat is bad for you?! Omega 3 fatty acid consumption can absolutely help your circulation and reduce inflammation in your body. Consuming it through natural seafood options is best. If seafood is not your thing, then a good Omega 3 supplement will do the trick (for more information on healthy fat options, please see our article here)
Taking control of our circulation is just another step in our journey of trying to live healthier and have more energy rich, fulfilling lives. No matter your goals, whether it be disease prevention, weight loss, optimal health or just trying to be a bit better today than you were yesterday, improving circulation is going to get you one step closer.
Please reach out to your EWYN health coach for more invigorating and creative ideas of how you can hit your goals faster than ever. EWYN is Exactly What You Need!