Keep Your Blood Flowing–Circulation Tips and Tricks!
It’s the time of year when the temperatures are still dipping and we feel like enough already of the cold weather! And many of you are may have travel plans to far off exotic places. Both cold temperatures and high altitudes can wreck havoc on our circulation. I’m sure you’ve heard the dreaded stories of even very young people getting blood clots when they fly. Whether you need to recirculate the blood after a long jaunt in a jet; or just need to thaw out at home, here are a few tips I like to use to keep my blood running warm all winter long.
These super warm, wool compression socks by Vim & VIgr get the job done right. They have all the qualities your look for in a pair of winter socks. And they have the right amount of compression to keep your blood circulating while sitting during a long plane ride or at work. Warm-check, wicking-check, compression-check. What more could you need? Oh wait they are even stylish! I also love Rejuva compression leggings and socks. They are adorable and come in so many fun and fashionable styles for men and women.
Now that your tootsies are toasty and your blood is pumping to your toes, try out these yoga poses to better boost the circulation:
Balancing stick: balancing poses always get my heart racing and blood pumping throughout the entire body. Bring your hands overhead to touch and interlace all but the pointer fingers. Press your biceps behind your ears keeping your arms straight. Shift your weight evenly into your right foot and begin to lift your left leg straight behind you as you simultaneously hinge your torso forward. Keep the core engaged and hold this capital letter T shape for 1 minute. Repeat on the other side.
Eagle Leg Supine Twist: during twists we wrap ourselves up tightly creating a kink almost like one in a garden hose. The kink blocks the flow of fluids and pressure begins to build up. Once the kink is released the fluid blasts out with force clearing any blockages and is now able to flow more freely. For this tangled twist, lie on your back with your arms out in a T, palms down. Bring your legs into tabletop position over your hips. Cross your right leg over your left and then continue the bind crossing at the ankles if you are able. Slowly, keeping your shoulders flat against the floor, let your legs fall over to the left. Repeat on the other side crossing the opposite leg on top.
Legs Up The Wall: This is my ultimate pose. It can be used to relax or to invigorate. It is a gentle inversion that challenges the heart to work harder in order to get blood up into the feet. I love it after a long flight, a sleepless night or just when life gets to be overwhelming. I recently had a client who had severe edema in his legs after a long flight. I taught him how to do this pose and after two 10 minute sessions he claimed to be 90% recovered! Getting into this position seems tricky, but the easiest way is to sit sideways with your hip flush to the wall then spin your bottom towards the wall so your legs go up. You may have to shimmy to get a little closer. To make this a more active pose flex your toes towards your shins and squeeze your leg muscles. Stay here 5 or more minutes.
Besides poses another trick from the past to improve your circulatory health is dry brushing. Dry brushing is a technique used to increase circulation, lymphatic detoxification and it helps shed dead skin. It only takes about 5 minutes, so grab a natural bristle brush and get to it. Starting at the ankles brush in circular motions upwards towards the heart. When you get to your back; brush starting at the neck and circle down to the lower back. Take a warm shower after. You should feel invigorated, fresh and baby soft. After your shower you can mix a drop or two of ginger essential oil into some coconut oil and massage into skin for a warming sensation.
Follow up with a spicy dinner like this sweet and spicy chickpea recipe from The Planet Friendly Diet by Cat Smiley. In addition to the warming spices, the act of cooking should help heat you up.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!