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Benefits of Stimulating Blood Flow in the Feet

Here's how stimulating your blood flow to your most hard-working appendages—your feet—can benefit you

Aching feet? Increasing and stimulating blood flow to your feet can help.

Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the health of their feet… until there is a problem. Then we realize how very important our feet are. They literally carry us through our days. What can we do to maximize the health of these vital appendages? One important step to keep us stepping, is to keep the circulation healthy in our feet.Feet are a considerable distance below our blood-pumping hearts, leaving them more vulnerable to circulatory problems than other parts of our bodies. This explains why our feet are the first thing to get chilled on a cold day. It’s important to insure proper blood circulation in our feet, through massage and other methods. Blood carries vital oxygen and nutrients that our feet need to stay in optimal health.According to a Harvard study, three out of four Americans will suffer from a foot condition at some time in their lives. Improving circulation of oxygen-rich blood into your extremities will improve the rate of healing and even prevent damage on a cellular level. Our cells need a continual healthy supply of oxygenated blood in order to rebuild and repair the damage incurred by regular daily use as our feet take us through our busy days. Poor circulation in our feet can eventually lead to tissue and nerve damage.

Blood Circulation in Feet and Aging

Keeping our circulation in top condition becomes even more vital as we age. Medical conditions, such as diabetes, peripheral artery disease, and obesity can further negatively impact blood circulation in the feet. Poor circulation in the extremities can cause such symptoms as tingling, coldness, swelling, slow toenail growth, and even corns. Also affected is the ability of the body to heal wounds in extremities if circulation is poor. This can lead to serious infections and even amputations.While improving circulation in feet does not resolve all foot issues, keeping the blood flowing properly in our extremities can help us maintain a higher quality of life, even as we age.

Steps to Keep Stepping: How to Maintain and Improve Circulation in Feet

What can we do to improve blood circulation in our feet? There are many ways to maintain and even improve circulation.

  • Keep stepping! Walking is the number one way to ensure proper circulation in our feet.   While it may seem contradictory to recommend walking to someone experiencing foot     pain, walking stimulates beneficial blood flow into our lower extremities to improve the   overall health of our feet. This is especially important to those who spend a great deal of the day sitting.
  • Here’s the rub! Studies have shown that, besides feeling fantastic, a foot rub provides many benefits. A good foot massage can assist circulation, improve balance, and increase range of motion. A massage therapist is an excellent resource for improving circulation and reversing damage done to busy feet by our daily lives. Even massaging your own feet at the end of the day can stimulate blood flow and be beneficial to foot circulation.
  • Heat the feet! Warmth can improve circulation in the feet. Wearing warm socks in cold weather can greatly improve circulation. Heating pads, warm blankets or comforters, or a hot bath at the end of the day are all beneficial to our blood flow.
  • Let’s not be cross! Have you ever been asked to uncross your legs during a routine blood pressure test? This is because sitting with crossed legs can constrict major arteries in your legs and limit blood flow to your feet. Try sitting with both feet on the floor during daylight hours, and elevating the feet at the end of the day to assist in proper circulation.
  • Shake the weight! Some lifestyle changes can also have a positive impact on circulation in the feet. Keeping off extra weight vastly improves the ability of your heart to properly circulate blood throughout your body. According to a study by the American Heart Association, obesity is directly related to increased incidents of cardiovascular disease and other illnesses related to improper circulation.While proper blood flow and optimization of circulation in the feet does not solve all problems associated with the feet, especially as we age; according to a health report by Harvard Medical School, keeping your feet healthy and fit can vastly improve the quality of life in people of all ages, but is especially important to the elderly.

Resources— Homestead Senior Care, LivestrongHarvard Health Publishing, AHA Journals