7 Ways to Improve Circulation and Exercise in the Office

Improve Circulation

Improve Circulation

For many of us, working an office job means living as a desk jockey spending most of our days sitting down stationary. If this sounds like you, improving circulation and constantly working to keep your blood moving effortlessly throughout your body should be high on your priority list.

Refuse to Sacrifice, Improve Circulation Now

 

The problem with sitting still for extended periods of time is that your circulatory system can take a major beating as it struggles to pump blood around your body; when you sit around too much your circulation can become labored because it has to work against gravity to pump the blood up from your lower body back towards your heart.

 

These issues can worsen exponentially, resulting in swelling, aching bones and joints, varicose veins, and in more severe cases, deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

 

Workin’ Nine-to-Five, Work to Improve Circulation

 

Unfortunately, toiling away at a desk for the best part of the day is unavoidable for a lot of people; however, there are some methods you can put into practice today which can help to reduce the potentially harmful effects of being a desk jockey and stem the tide of circulatory disorders:

 

  • Take Frequent Breaks
    It is of the utmost importance that you take short, frequent breaks while you are working; ideally you should get up from your seat and walk around the office, staying away from your desk and computer for 5-10 minutes out of every hour.
    Depending on your employer, this isn’t always possible, but you can at least stand up every so often and shake your arms and legs out to remove any stiffness.
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  • Ankle Rotations
    One simple exercise you can perform while sitting at your desk is simply to extend your leg forward and rotate your ankle in a smooth, controlled fashion.
    Try performing five clockwise rotations with each foot before going back to the foot you started with and doing the same again but in a counter-clockwise direction.
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  • Ankle Dorsiflexion
    Dorsiflexion, that is to say, the motion of curling your foot up in the direction of your knee, can work wonders for driving blood into your calves and the muscles surrounding the front of your shin.To most effectively use ankle dorsiflexion, perform the following with one foot at a time:

    • Point your foot outwards and perform 10-15 repetitions
    • Point your foot inwards and perform 10-15 repetitions
    • Point your foot straight forward and perform 10-20 repetitions
    • Repeat for 2-4 rounds

The number of repetitions you use may begin as low as five if your ankle mobility is poor, but if you consistently perform this routine a few times a week, you’ll be sure to notice differences in the circulation around your calf muscles and ankle.

  • Bicycle Peddling
    An arguably less strenuous exercise you can perform to improve circulation to your knees, upper legs, and groin region is the bicycle pedal; simply raise your legs up in front of you while seated and begin rotating your legs in circles as if you’re peddling on a bicycle.You might get a few funny looks from your co-workers while doing this one but it really does pack one heck of a rehabilitative punch.How long and how often you perform this exercise is up to you, but generally speaking, bouts of 10-30 seconds performed for 2-3 rounds a few times a week should suffice, especially when combined with the other techniques discussed in this article.
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  • Leg Raises
    An even simpler exercise that will improve circulation to your whole leg is the leg raise or leg extension.To perform leg raises, all you have to do is bring one leg at a time out in front of you while keeping your buttocks firmly planted at the back of your seat.Again, the number of repetitions you perform will depend on your knee mobility and the severity of your circulatory issues, but 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions on each leg should be more than enough. Furthermore, you might like to try holding your leg at the top of each repetition for a second or two while clenching or flexing your buttock and the muscles in the front (quadriceps) and back (hamstrings) or your thigh.

While performing all of these exercises, ensure that your movements are smooth and fluid, your breath is steady and controlled, and your abdominal muscles remain firm and tight throughout.

 

Great Circulation Doesn’t End at the Office

 

The techniques for improving your circulation don’t have to stop when you leave the office; there are plenty of things you can do in your day-to-day life to help reduce, prevent, and even undo the harmful effects of sitting around all day.

Here are a couple of methods you can employ outside of your place of work:

  • Get a Massage
    One of the most effective ways of improving your circulation is to go for frequent massages. Advise your masseuse or masseur to focus on your lower extremities and this will help to break up dead tissue and adhesions in the muscles, as well as relieving tension in the joints and tendons, and boosting circulation to the affected regions of your legs, ankles, and feet.If you can’t afford to pay for a professional massage, you can always ask your partner, a friend, or relative to massage you; if you can’t find a willing participant, you can also massage yourself using a tennis ball, foam roller, or various other massage implements.
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  • Contrast Showers
    Used more traditionally in athletic circles, contrast showers are another great technique to boost your circulation, and the great thing is – they don’t cost a penny besides your water bill!

Get Crazy, Go the Extra Mile

 

A contrast shower is simply your normal shower except you periodically adjust the temperature so that you’re undergoing periods of hot and cold water, thereby boosting your circulation with the added benefit of removing toxins from your muscles.

Begin your shower with hot water and then after 1-3 minutes, make the water as cold as you can tolerate; the cold water period should be half as long as the hot water period so you might want to use a timer.

Make sure you finish your contrast shower with cold water before rubbing yourself with a towel to warm yourself back up!

 

 

 

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_vein_thrombosis#Risk_factors

http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/increase-circulation-lower-legs-6837.html

http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/rehabilitation/power-shower/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/508917-what-exercises-stimulate-blood-circulation-in-the-legs-and-feet/

About Rick Rockwell

Rick Rockwell is a self-employed personal trainer and experienced freelance writer. His articles have been published throughout the Internet. While his days are spent at www.Apppicker.com his nights are spent exercising and weekends exploring the great outdoors. He has more than 10 years of experience as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and lifestyle coach. His company, Rockwell Fitness, is dedicated to educating and empowering others to live healthy lifestyles.

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