Your heart is continuously working to pump blood throughout your body's complex maze of blood vessels. It pumps blood up to your brain cells and down to your toes, processing more than 5 quarts of blood every minute.
Usually this all takes place without you even noticing. When your circulation is sluggish, though, problems arise. Those issues might be localized to either your upper or lower body, and you could experience numbness in your toes, fluid retention and bloating in your legs and a general feeling of fatigue.
Getting your legs moving with some easy exercises can help alleviate your symptoms and put a little pep back in your step.
1. Ankle Pumps
The lower leg is prone to fluid retention and swelling, which can cause pain in the lower limbs and numbness in the toes. This simple exercise gets blood and lymph moving back through the lower leg to relieve these troubling symptoms:
HOW TO DO IT: From standing, rise onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels as high as you can off the floor. Squeeze your calf muscles at the top for 1 second, then lower back down. Repeat for a three sets of 20 reps.
2. Flex, Extend and Rotate
If you're binging on your favorite Netflix show and numbness starts creeping into your toes, don't press pause. You don't even need to get up to get some blood flowing into your lower limbs with this easy ankle exercise.
HOW TO DO IT: Extend your legs straight out. Point your toes, flexing your calf muscles and contracting your quadriceps muscles along the fronts of your thighs. Hold for one second, then pull your toes back toward your face feeling a stretch along your calves. Repeat 20 times.
Next, roll each ankle around through its full range of motion one at a time. Go in one direction for 10 circles, then switch directions for 10 circles.
Repeat each exercise for three sets.
Squats get all the muscles of your legs working to promote circulation and build strength at the same time.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees and hips and sit your hips back and down, like you're sitting down in a chair. Keep your chest up and shoulders back as you bring your thighs down to parallel, or as low as you can comfortably go. Press through your feet to rise back up to standing. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
4. Legs Up the Wall
Not only is this yoga pose excellent for promoting circulation and proper fluid drainage from your legs, it's also super relaxing. Do this on a carpeted surface or place an exercise mat or blanket underneath you and get comfy.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on the floor on your side and scoot your bottom up as close to the wall as you can. Roll over on your back and extend your legs up the wall. Keep your bottom touching the wall. Extend your legs straight or keep them slightly bent depending on your flexibility. Stay here for five to 15 minutes.