The condition of our veins and arteries is vitally important to our overall health, but it’s an easy thing to overlook when other health issues might be more pronounced. However, there is one good way to gauge your vascular health: check your legs!

Good blood circulation and healthy vessels in your legs can serve as a indicators of your overall vascular health and shouldn’t be ignored. Try these easy tricks to keep your blood flowing and leg vessels in peak condition!

Importance of Leg Circulation

leg-1Flickr / Randy LemoineYour legs are major blood circulation areas, with a wide network of vessels for keeping nutrients and oxygen flowing. Poor circulation in your legs can lead to stress on blood vessels in the rest of your body, which has major health repercussions.

Symptoms of Poor Circulation

leg-2Flickr / sleggat

Tingling, numbness, or coldness are often signs of immediate circulation problems. Other more subtle signs of poor leg circulation include: swelling of the legs, feet, or ankles; muscle cramps; and varicose veins, which occur when blood doesn’t get pumped back to the heart and collects in the veins instead.

If you notice any of these symptoms, there are a few ways you can help improve the circulation in your legs…

1. Change positions

leg-3Flickr / jsmjr

For people who work at desk jobs or spend a majority of their day sitting, it’s important to routinely change positions to keep blood flowing and prevent clots or other problems. Standing too long can have other adverse effects on the body as well, so it’s best to switch your position many times throughout the day.

2. Walk frequently

leg-4Flickr / Thomas Hawk

Walking is also excellent for keeping your leg circulation normal. Simple things like taking the stairs or going for a stroll around the block to get rid of excess energy can have very positive effects on your circulation.

3. Take warm showers

leg-5Flickr / Steven Depolo

The heat from a warm shower or bath isn’t just relaxing — it will also dilate your blood vessels and improve circulation. This can be especially helpful if you have hypertension or other forms of high blood pressure.

4. Dry-brush your skin

leg-6Flickr / Allison Turrell

Simply take a dry bristle brush and rub the bristles against your skin in a sweeping motion in the direction of your heart. Dry-brushing not only clears away dead skin, but the friction also dilates the capillaries in your epidermis, improving your overall circulation.

5. Eat spicy foods

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Everybody knows that spicy food will clear your sinuses, but fewer people realize it helps improve your circulation. Different hot spices have different effects, too. Turmeric prevents clots and plaque buildup, and the capsaicin in spices like cayenne pepper stimulates blood flow and can relieve numbness.

6. Wear compression socks

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Compression socks are great for relieving swollen and painful veins, especially if you spend lots of time on your feet. Of course, having good shoes also makes a tremendous difference for your leg circulation as well as your overall health.

7. Drink green tea

leg-9Flcikr / mukluk

Green tea’s antioxidants have numerous health benefits, one of which is the dilation of vessels. The small amount of caffeine in green tea can also give you a boost without the negative effects that the higher doses in coffee or soda can cause.

8. Massage your legs

leg-10Flickr / colorblindpicaso

Like dry-brushing, massage can help dilate your vessels, especially capillaries, and its relaxing effects are good for your heart and overall health. Plus, you don’t need to shell out for a spa; rubbing your own legs in a firm motion in the direction of your heart can be just as effective.

9. Eat chocolate

leg-11Flickr / Dobrin Isabela

According to the American Heart Association, a small piece of chocolate eaten daily is good for improving your circulation, just as long as it’s not milk chocolate. To receive any health benefits, you need to eat dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa.

Who knew you could improve your leg circulation so easily? With simple tricks like these for staying well, there’s no excuse to neglect your vascular health!

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