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How to Improve Leg Circulation

Four Methods:Starting Leg-Healthy HabitsTaking Herbs and SupplementsKeeping Your Diet HealthyGetting Medical Treatment

Having good leg circulation allows your leg tissue to take in nutrients and get rid of waste, and is essential to long-term leg health and strength. Leg circulation can be improved by starting simple habits, taking herbs and other supplements, and making changes to your diet. Read on to learn how to start improving your leg circulation right away.

Method 1
Starting Leg-Healthy Habits

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    Don't sit or stand for too long. It's important to move around during the day to get the blood flowing through your legs. Sitting or standing for long periods of time allows the blood to collect instead of flowing, and is detrimental to your health over time. If you find you've been in the same position for an hour or more, move around for a few minutes before resuming your position.
    • If you work in an office and are required to sit for your job, get up and take breaks every hour and a half or so. Even if all you do is walk to the bathroom and back to your desk, you're moving your legs, which helps circulation.
    • You could also look into getting a stand-up desk, which allows you to stand instead of sitting while you work.
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    Position your body to aid circulation. Do you tend to cross your legs when you sit? That common position cuts off the circulation to your legs, making it more difficult for blood to get to your leg tissue to keep it healthy. Make a habit of sitting in a position that's better for blood circulation.
    • Sit with your legs spaced slightly apart and your feet on the floor. Remember to get up from time to time so you aren't in this position for too long.
    • You can also slightly elevate your legs to help your circulation. Put your feet up on a stool 6 to 12 inches (15.2 to 30.5 cm) above the ground.
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    Start an exercise routine. If you can work some exercise into your schedule, your circulation will certainly benefit. Any exercises that employ the legs will help your circulation. Try power walking, running, biking, swimming, hiking, and other exercises you enjoy that get your feet moving.
    • Exercise daily for maximum benefits. Even a 1/2-hour walk will improve the health of your legs.
    • If you're looking for a low-impact exercise, try yoga.[1] Many yoga poses engage your legs and stimulate the circulatory system.
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    Wear comfortable shoes. Wearing high heels, pointy-toed shoes, or other tight shoes can impede blood flow from your legs to your heart. When you're focused on improving leg circulation, it's important to wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes with plenty of cushioning.
    • Wear tennis shoes or loafers that give your feet room to breathe.
    • Go for dress shoes with rounded or almond-shaped toes instead of pointy toes. Choose wedges instead of heels if you want extra height.
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    Wear compression hose. These are similar to panty hose, and they're specifically designed to stabilize the leg tissues and help blood circulate more easily. You can pick them up at the drugstore or see your doctor about ordering hose specially fitted for your legs and your individual needs.
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    Stop using tobacco products. Smoking can actually lead to peripheral artery disease, a condition in which the arteries in the legs harden and can no longer circulate blood. If you have poor circulation, stopping smoking and use of other tobacco products is an important way to regain leg health.[2]

Method 2
Taking Herbs and Supplements

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    Try birch bark tea. This herb is said to help stimulate the circulatory system. It can be taken as a supplement, but it's also great as a tea, especially brewed with a little ginger. Incorporate a cup into your daily routine.[3]
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    Take gingko supplements. Gingko has long been used for a number of medicinal purposes, and there is evidence that it can help to open up the blood vessels and improve circulation.[4]
    • A dosage of 120-240 mg per day of ginkgo leaf extract is recommended. Divide it into two or three doses.[5]
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    Drink cayenne pepper tea. This spicy pepper is said to help open blood vessels and improve circulation. You can sprinkle it over your food or stir it into some tea with honey. Consuming some cayenne pepper every day should improve your circulation over time.[6]
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    Take fish oil supplements. Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy lipid profile. Having a high level of "good" cholesterol improves circulation.[7]
    • Fish oil supplements come in pill gel capsule form and are usually made from mackerel, tuna, cod liver, salmon, or herring.

Method 3
Keeping Your Diet Healthy

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    Eat less salt. Salt causes your body to retain water and swell, which can put pressure on the veins and lead to poor circulation. Try halving your salt intake and avoiding sprinkling extra salt on your food after it has been prepared.
    • Do most of your own cooking, rather than eating out. You never know how much salt restaurants are putting in their food, and it's usually more than you think.
    • Avoid salty snack foods, fast food, and microwaveable dinners and snacks.
    • Drink plenty of water to flush the salt from your body. You need 2 or so liters a day to stay fully hydrated.
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    Maintain a healthy body weight. An important part of keeping your legs and feet healthy and improving circulation is maintaining a healthy body weight. Having extra weight places stress on your circulatory system. Follow a balanced diet and work with your doctor to reach a weight that is right for your body type.
    • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
    • Make sure you're getting a good amount of fiber through legumes, nuts, oatmeal, and other fiber-rich foods.

Method 4
Getting Medical Treatment

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    Talk with your doctor about getting treatment for poor circulation. If lifestyle changes and healthy habits don't seem to be working, you may have a more serious health problem called peripheral artery disease. Talk with your doctor about whether this could be the case, and what treatment options are available to you.[8]
    • Peripheral artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries and prevents blood from circulating from the feet and legs to the heart. It leads to leg pain and other symptoms of poor circulation.[9]
    • Peripheral artery disease is generally treated with medication to combat leg pain, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
    • Peripheral artery disease is also sometimes treated with heart surgery.


  • Always ask your doctor for the most professional advice.

Article Info

Categories: Cardiovascular Health and Blood Pressure