Easy Tips for Improving Blood Circulation while Sitting

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According to the Telegraph, having a long term desk job can greatly increase the risk of bowel cancer. This is one of the many consequences of sitting for long periods of time. That’s because a sedentary lifestyle distorts the flow of blood through the body, increasing the risk of heart disease and other illnesses that are linked to blood vessels. But don’t worry,  all this can be avoided. Keep reading to find out how. 

Check your body’s position 

When you sit, make sure that you’re in a position that allows for blood flow. Don’t cross your legs when you sit as it cuts off circulation in your legs, causing you to experience ‘pins and needles’.

Practice good sitting posture, which consists of:

  • Sit up straight, with the small of your back against the chair’s backrest.
  • Position your arms in an open “v” position, with your shoulders externally rotated.
  • Keep some space between the back of your thighs and the seat’s edge to avoid cutting off leg circulation. Plant both feet against the floor. 
  • Sit with your legs slightly elevated. You can use a footrest to help you to keep your feets off the floor. 

Exercise at your desk 

 

It can be hard to get away from your desk and exercise when you have a stack of work to do. But everyone needs a 5 minute break between assignments. We suggest that you make the most of these small, yet frequent breaks. Alternate between sitting back and gathering your thoughts, and a couple of the exercises that have been outlined below.

  • Leg Lifts: Sit at your desk, keep one foot pressed against the floor and raise the other leg up until it’s straight above the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds, then lower your leg and repeat the motion with the other. Try to repeat this movement, raising each leg 5-10 times. 
  • Over Shoulder Stretch: Raise one arm over your head and back, and bend at the elbow. Catch your elbow with the other hand as you pull downwards for a nice stretch along the entire side of your arms and chest.
  • Ankle Flexes: Press both feet against the floor and make sure your legs are perpendicular against the floor. Now, lift your heels off the floor then lower them. Next, you’ll need to lift your toes up off the floor and pull them up to your shins. Repeat this movement, steadily rocking your feet against the floor.
  • Thigh squeeze: Keep a small tennis ball in your desk. When you have a moment, place it between your knees and squeeze it with your legs. Relax your legs, then repeat the motion about 10 minutes. 
  • Calf raises: When you are on the phone, try to stand at your desk and lift both heels off the floor. You need to move your body’s weight onto your toes, lower your feet back to the ground and then repeat.

Wear a pair of compression stockings

Compression stockings help to ‘exercise’ your muscles by encouraging them to contract and then relax throughout the day. This will help to stimulate the flow of blood through your feet, effectively mimicking the effect of walking. Ask your doctor to give you advice on the type of stockings that you can buy; they have different sizes and pressures. 

Don’t Smoke

When you smoke, you’re blood clots. This affects your blood circulation and can lead to swelling in both your ankles and feet. It can be tempting to smoke when you are sitting in the office all day, especially if you’re co-workers are avid smokers. Avoid temptation and find alternative ways of ‘relaxing and bonding’. You’ll reap the rewards in the long run. 

Watch your diet  

A balanced diet; with plenty of fruit, water and vegetables in essential for improving your blood circulation. Avoid foods that contain saturated fats, as they increase your blood pressure and effect your blood’s circulation. 

You can maintain a balanced diet at the office by:
  • Keeping a bottle of water at your desk and sipping from it throughout the day. 
  • Swapping the sweet bowl for a fruit bowl.
  • Keeping a small bowl of nuts and dried fruit at your desk; you can snack on them throughout the day and limit the amount of processed food that you crave in a day. 

In the end…

There are so many things that you can do to improve your blood circulation, even if you have to spend the day sitting at your desk. It just takes a bit of pre-planning and effort.

Sources Used:

https://www.webmd.com/dvt/ss/slideshow-dvt-improve-circulation

http://ergonomictrends.com/proper-sitting-posture-computer-experts/

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/strengthening-calf-muscles



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