The normal blood circulation goes through every single nook and cranny in the human body. This serves several purposes: for delivery of nutrients to cells, transport of well needed oxygen, a waste management system for metabolic toxins, a passage highway for quick travel by antibodies, and even for the distribution of warmth and body heat.
The most important and vital of body organs (with the exception of the brain) are generally found at the body’s torso. During crisis situations where the body has to make several adjustments to survive, this leaves the distal (i.e. far from the core) body parts at the losing end. The body keeps the circulation focused on the vital body organs which results in decreased blood circulation in the arms, hands, fingers, feet, and toes. This is a normal compensatory mechanism; it is meant to keep the body alive in severe life threatening situations such as severe hypothermia or hypovolemic shock for example.
How to tell that blood is not circulating well at your hands and feet
Now, there are everyday circumstances when we could sometimes notice a certain minor lack in circulation in our hands and feet. This happens a lot during cold weather. The same principle applies, only in a smaller scale. You can probably tell that blood is not circulating well at your hands and feet by the following things:
- Firstly, there is a tingling or “pins and needles” type of sensation.
- There is numbness which comes after tingling and is usually an indication that the condition is worsening.
- There would be skin discoloration starting from pallor then progressing to a bluish or purplish tint.
- If you haven’t gotten around to fixing the situation yet, there would be loss of sensation and impairment in movement of the fingers and/or toes.
Decrease of circulation could also happen when standing or sitting for a prolonged period of time. Due to the forces exerted by gravity, the blood pools at certain areas, leaving other body parts with less amounts of the fluid to get supplied with. Sitting in place for hours could cut circulation to the lower body and impair circulation in the legs and feet. It is the same with wearing tight, ill fitting clothes: super tight leggings or yoga pants, jeans that are one waist line too small, tops with gartered cuffs or hem lines, etc. These all result in the same thing.
5 Ways to improve blood circulation in hands and feet
So the question now crops up, how does one improve blood circulation in hands and feet? There are several simple ways to do that.
Eliminate the root cause
The first thing would be to eliminate the root cause. If you get numb feet from tight pants, then take them off and purchase bigger ones. The point is to avoid wearing clothing that is too restrictive. Aside from the circulation impairment, the constant friction of the fabric on the skin could be the start of boils and other dermatological problems. Avoid accessorizing with small sized pieces of jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and anklets. Again, the tightness causes the restriction and impairment of blood flow. In any case, always be sure to wear the right size for your body shape and proportion. This applies to everything – even socks, shoes, and underwear. These all could cut off circulation at the legs and feet.
Another way to improve blood circulation in hands and feet is to keep warm, especially when it is cold. Heat dilates blood vessels, making it flow much easier. When you wear jackets, the body will think that there is no need for the blood to be centered on the torso since it is already adequately warmed. So the tendency would be a normalized circulation to all body parts including the hands and feet.
Vary your position every few minutes
When forced to be in a standing or sitting position for a long time, vary your position every few minutes. This stops the cutoff of circulation to the legs. When at the computer for hours, the arms and wrists tend to be bent at a certain angle. Again, this could cause cutoff of circulation in the hands. The solution is to stop, rest, and stretch. Doing these would improve blood circulation in hands and feet.
Slim down and lose weight
Being severely obese could sometimes be a cause of blood circulation decrease in the extremities, especially on the legs and feet. The excess fat could cause undue pressure in supplying arteries and veins to the lower body, which results in the numbing. The way to improve blood circulation in hands and feet would be to slim down and lose weight. Again, there could be other potential health benefits to this.
Do aerobic and cardio exercises
Doing aerobic and cardio exercises will improve overall body circulation and will also most likely improve blood circulation in hands and feet. Movement gets the blood rushing which accounts to that nice rosy blush one gets after exertion. As was mentioned earlier, heat dilates blood vessels, making circulation easier. Using a hot water bag or bottle, preferably wrapped in a thin cloth or towel first, and placing them at the feet area or on the hands will improve blood circulation in hands and feet. This is applicable in cold countries and during cold weather in general.
Here is a great exercise that helps you to relieve tensions in the wrists and improves blood circulation.
For more hand exercises check out Good Relaxation Video Courses.
The general guideline to keeping blood well flowing in the hands and feet is to know what is causing it and then doing something about that cause. It is not exactly rocket science. A little common sense can go a very long way, and a little knowledge would definitely help to prevent any undue problems in the foreseeable future.
Photo: Ben Smith