02 Feb How Seniors Can Improve Circulation
Circulation is important for seniors. All organs and tissues in the human body need oxygen and nutrients to stay healthy. Blood, of course, contains oxygen and nutrients. To reach organs and tissues, though, circulation is necessary.
Poor circulation means that blood flow will flow more slowly through a senior’s body. When this occurs, seniors may experience symptoms such as fatigue, numbness in the hands or feet, varicose veins, skin discoloration, ulcers, muscle cramps and wounds that don’t heal. How can seniors improve their circulation exactly?
Stay Physically Active
Seniors can improve their circulation by staying physically active. There’s a strong correlation between a senior’s physical activity levels and his or her circulation. Seniors who are physically active typically have better circulation than those who are not physically active.
Physical activity improves circulation naturally by forcing the heart to pump faster. Whether a senior is walking, jogging, cycling or swimming, his or her heart will pump faster. As the senior’s heart rate increases, his or her circulation will improve. Most health experts recommend two to three hours of aerobic physical activity per week for seniors. By following these guidelines, seniors can improve their circulation so that they are less susceptible to cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.
Watch the Sodium
Excessive sodium can slow down the speed at which blood moves through a senior’s body. As an essential nutrient, sodium is needed to protect against chronic diseases. It regulates the function of nerves, muscles and other soft tissues while. Too much sodium, however, can negatively impact a senior’s circulation.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of Americans consume too much sodium. Sodium, when consumed in excess, promotes fluid retention. It places additional pressure on the walls of blood vessels while subsequently reducing circulation. To improve their circulation, seniors should limit their intake of sodium to no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
Sodium is found in countless foods and beverages, some of the worst being the following:
- Deli meat
- Canned soup
- Pasta sauce
- Potato chips
- Microwavable meals
- Salt and salt-based seasonings
Get a Massage
Another way seniors can improve their circulation is to get a massage. Massage therapy has been used to improve circulation for over a century. It involves the manipulation of muscles and soft tissues by a professional massage therapist. As the massage therapist kneads and manipulates a senior’s body, his or her circulation will improve.
Massage therapy offers many other benefits besides improved circulation. It can lower stress levels, for instance. Many seniors suffer from chronic stress. If left unchecked, chronic stress can lead to sleep disorder as well as other problems that negatively impact a senior’s quality of life.
Seniors who are diabetic are more likely to suffer from poor circulation than their counterparts. Diabetes, of course, is a chronic disease that’s characterized by elevated glucose levels in the blood. When not controlled, all this glucose can damage the inner walls of blood vessels, resulting in poor circulation.
While there’s no cure for diabetes, there are ways to manage it. Seniors who are diabetic should talk to their doctor for guidance on how to manage diabetes. Cutting back on processed sugar, as well as other simple carbohydrates, can improve a senior’s glucose levels. Of course, there’s also medication available to treat and manage diabetes. By taking control of their diabetes, seniors can protect themselves from this disease’s symptoms, including poor circulation.
Another way seniors can improve their circulation is to stay hydrated. The amount of water a senior drinks throughout the day will directly affect his or her circulation. Water dictates blood volume. Seniors who are dehydrates will have a lower volume of blood, and with less blood, their circulation will decrease.
Dehydration is more common than you may realize. Statistics show that up to three in four seniors are chronically dehydrated. In other words, they don’t drink enough water throughout the day. To prevent problems associated with dehydration, including poor circulation, seniors must stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Prop Up Feet
It may sound unusual, but seniors can improve their circulation by propping up their feet. When sitting in a chair or soda, seniors can prop up their feet on a stool or footrest to improve their circulation. Blood will blow more easily to their feet if they are propped up.
Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet
Following a heart-healthy diet can have a positive impact on a senior’s circulation. Heart-healthy diets are those that promote a healthy cardiovascular system and, thus, lower the risk of heart disease.
Circulation is a component of the cardiovascular system. For a healthy heart, blood must circulate fast and efficiently through the body. Following a heart-healthy diet will improve a senior’s circulation while subsequently lowering his or her risk of heart disease.