First, you should go to the doctor for a checkup. Some of the possible causes or contributing factors to poor circulation require medical attention, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes or phlebitis. You can also talk to your doctor about what you can do to improve your circulation.
Your doctor will probably advise you to start a program of regular aerobic exercise. The nature of the exercise will depend on your age, health and preferences. Whatever you do, start out slowly and gradually increase your effort. Exercise — usually walking — is advised even for people who have pain in their legs with exercise, a condition called intermittent claudication. Exercise strengthens your muscles and improves blood flow.
Here are some other things you can do to increase circulation:
- If you are a smoker, quit. Cigarette smoking reduces the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Lose weight if necessary.
- Eat a healthy diet that is low-fat and high-fiber. Make sure your diet provides adequate vitamins and minerals. Consider taking a vitamin supplement, but be sure to check with your doctor.
- Cut down on caffeine and alcohol consumption.
- If you sit or stand in one place for long periods during the day, try to take frequent breaks to stretch and move around.
- If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure to keep them under control with medication.
- Take especially good care of your feet. Keep them clean and wear comfortable shoes.
- Elevate your legs when sitting.