By Dr Kenneth Gardner
Many of our health problems are caused by poor circulation. Kidney damage, erectile dysfunction, visual impairment from diabetes, heart attack and stroke are few of the problems we can encounter if our circulation is compromised.
Some of the major causes of poor circulation are obesity, sedentary lifestyle, consumption of excessive saturated fat, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and diabetes. Poor circulation restricts blood flow and likewise the delivery of oxygen to key areas such as our brain, which requires a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood.
Memory loss, frequent headaches, dizzy spells and slow mental response have been attributed to poor blood circulation in the brain from time to time. Poor circulation or inadequate blood flow to the brain in the short run will have a negative mental impact. At worse this could result in a stroke. Similarly, a heart attack could occur if the heart is deprived of blood supply below its threshold for minimal function.
Poor circulation can result in fluid accumulating in the lungs, heart, kidneys and legs, each of which compounds the health risks for these organs and their associated systems. Some of the initial signs of a circulation problem may appear in our hands, fingers, legs and feet. Sensations of heaviness, numbness or pain in the legs after performing some physical activities are also good indicators of inadequate blood supply to the muscle.
Regular aerobic exercise increases the amount of blood our heart pumps each minute in conjunction with our improved fitness. The amount of blood our heart pumps during each heartbeat also increases as a result of regular exercise. Increased blood circulation is also indicative of improved oxygen supply to targeted tissues, organs or systems. Improved blood circulation enables us to work closer to our maximum heart rate so we can put more effort into the activities we do and likewise enjoy more benefits from the routine.
Physical exercise is a significant cornerstone in the efforts that combine several interventions in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of heart disease. Thus it has a substantial effect on risk factors that are associated with the circulation body fluids. Physical activity improves our blood profile by increasing the production of the good cholesterol/ high-density lipoprotein which removes the bad cholesterol/low-density lipoprotein from our blood and takes it to our liver where it is put to good use.
Prevents heart disease
Physical exercise also helps prevent heart disease by keeping our blood pressure under control. It reduces blood pressure, especially if it is chronically elevated above the optimal level. Exercise reduces body fat, which significantly increases our risk of cardiovascular disease and the mortality rate. Physical activity improves our body composition by increasing caloric expenditure from both glucose and fats, thus preventing the development of Type Two diabetes and ensure that we lose weight from our body fat, instead of our lean body mass.
If you are injured or otherwise unable to do physical activities on your own to improve your circulation, a massage is a very good alternative.
Dr Kenneth Gardner is an exercise physiologist at Holiday Hills Research Center; email: email@example.com.