If your blood vessels were pipes, then your heart would be the pump pushing water throughout the system. When a pump moves slowly, not as much fluid circulates. When a pump pushes hard, however, plenty of water rushes through the pipes. The same is true for your heart and your blood. When your heart beats harder, more blood is pumped more quickly to where you need it—including your lower limbs. That’s why exercises to improve poor circulation can actually benefit your foot health.
Lack of good circulation limits the amount of blood flowing to your lower limbs. This is unhealthy for your feet and can have some pretty uncomfortable side effects, from cramping and pain to foot ulcers. To keep your lower limbs healthy, you have to improve your circulation so more oxygen and nutrients are able to reach the tissues on a regular basis. Exercising is the best way to do this because it forces your heart to pump harder, pushing more blood past any blocks and PAD-related restrictions in your blood vessels.
At the same time, you have to be careful that you don’t accidentally hurt yourself, particularly when your feet are vulnerable. Here are types of exercise that benefit poor circulation while still keeping your feet safe and protected:
- Walking – Walking is great aerobic exercise that isn’t too hard on the feet themselves. Walk multiple times a week to get your blood pumping.
- Tip-toe walking – Trying walking around a room on your tiptoes, so your heels never touch the ground. This works muscles and helps stretch out your feet.
- Calf raises – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and rise up on your toes. Slowly lower back down to neutral and repeat 10 times. In addition to improving circulation, this strengthens your feet.
- Foot circles – Hold your foot out in front of you and keep your knee straight. Rotate your foot in clockwise and counterclockwise circles.