Exercises to increase blood flow are important for heart health. Proper blood circulation also plays a vital role in general health. The bloodstream continuously transports oxygen and nutrients to the brain, skin, and vital organs in the body.
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When your circulation is reduced, various diseases such as varicose veins, kidney disease, and even stroke may occur. However, exercises to increase blood flow can help.
Raise Your Heart Rate
Any type of exercise that increases heart rate improves circulation. When the heart muscle contracts at a higher rate, the increased volume of blood moves more rapidly through the arteries and veins of the body, boosting circulation.
Blood flow and exercise intensity go hand-in-hand. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise intensity is your perception of how hard you are working out. In general, the higher your exercise intensity, the higher your heart rate will increase.
You may know these exercises as cardio activities, and they are a vital part of improving your circulation. Daily activities such as walking or riding a bicycle strengthen and enlarge the heart muscle, improving the pumping efficiency.
Increased circulation does not require extreme exercise, but can be achieved through daily exercises. If you want to incorporate more cardio exercise into your day, consider taking up running, swimming, kickboxing, skipping rope, and skiing. These are just a few effective exercises to increase blood flow.
Blood Flow Workout with Resistance
In addition to cardio exercise, include strength training exercise for blood circulation in your regular workout routine. As explained in a 2013 article published by_ Journal of Athletic Training,_ resistance training increases blood flow throughout the body.
Resistance exercises may include lifting weights, sit-ups, pushups and chin-ups. Resistance training stimulates muscle growth and strength, improving blood flow to the arms and legs. Your circulation improves through consistent resistance training, making it an important component of a workout.
To see increased circulation, incorporate resistance training into your workouts on a regular basis. Use weights that are heavy enough to tire out your muscles after 12 to 15 reps, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic.
Incorporate a variety of weight training exercises such as bench presses, squats, lunges, leg curls, overhead presses, and oblique twists. These exercises can be done by themselves or as part of your overall workout.
Building A Healthy Body
Maintaining proper blood circulation should be a priority for all people. Regardless of your age or physical abilities, regular exercise to promote circulation has beneficial effects.
Improving and maintaining blood circulation builds a strong heart muscle and also improves the efficiency of your body, ensuring that both the arms and legs receive oxygen and other vital nutrients.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (increased breathing, but not out of breath) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity (difficulty speaking more than a few words at a time) aerobic exercise each week.
In addition, strength training should be performed for all major muscle groups, at least twice per week.
- Journal of Athletic Training: "Resting Arterial Diameter and Blood Flow Changes With Resistance Training and Detraining in Healthy Young Individuals"
- Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition"
- Mayo Clinic: "Exercise Intensity: How to Measure It"
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.