Whether you have a condition that affects your legs or not, we can all benefit from better leg health. Our legs help us move and keep us going throughout the day, so we should take good care of them. There are simple ways that you can improve your leg health on a daily basis. Incorporating these steps into your regular routine will help you quickly develop the habit, and soon these healthy practices will simply be a part of your everyday life. Read below for simple tips for better leg health.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Staying at a healthy weight will not only help your overall health, but will improve your leg health as well. Being overweight can have a negative impact on your veins, arteries, joints, muscles, and other areas. Any injuries, damage, or simply poor care makes it harder for your to accomplish everyday tasks. Maintaining a healthy weight will keep your body healthy, strong, and reduce your risk of injury or developing leg issues. Staying at a healthy weight doesn't have to be difficult. There are simple steps that you can take every day to maintain a healthy weight. Eating healthy, exercising, practicing a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding harmful practices will help you maintain a healthy and proper weight.
2. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is incredibly beneficial. It promotes better overall health, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and aids in better leg health. Exercise also improves circulation, which is especially great for your legs. Make sure to incorporate exercises that focus on your legs or add a leg day to your exercise routine. Some great exercises include walking, jogging or running, swimming, yoga, and light strength training. Including a mix of cardio and strength exercises will make sure you are working all of your muscles properly and help you gain and maintain muscle strength. Yoga is especially great for improving circulation. The deep muscle stretches and slow movements not only improve circulation, but help lower blood pressure and improve flexibility. You should also make sure to stretch before and after every workout to prevent injury, improve flexibility, and help your muscles recover better. Stretching and better flexibility makes exercising easier and also helps your muscles feel better. Consult your doctor or physician with any questions or concerns regarding what exercises you should be doing.
3. Move Often
Try to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. If you have to sit or stand for long hours try incorporating small movements throughout the day. If you sit most of the day for your job, get up and take a short walk a few times a day. You can also do simple leg exercises while sitting to stretch your legs and move your muscles. Contracting your leg muscles opens your veins to allow for better blood flow back up to the heart. While sitting, move your feet up and down, focusing on using your calf muscles. If you stand for long hours, try incorporating leg movements and exercises throughout the day so you are contracting and releasing the muscles in your legs regularly. Movements such as heel raises, light leg lifts, or simply just moving from side to side are easy ways that you can move your muscles throughout the day and improve circulation.
4. Wear Compression
Wearing compression regularly is a great and easy way to promote better leg health. Your body uses arteries and veins to pump blood from the heart, throughout the body, and back to the heart. Your body is naturally fighting against gravity to pump the blood from your feet and legs back up to the heart. This is especially true if you are sitting or standing, as the blood tends to pool in your feet and lower legs. When the blood pools in your feet and legs it can cause swelling, aching, fatigue and discomfort. This also results in poor circulation. Compression socks apply graduated pressure throughout your legs to help move the blood back up to the heart. Make sure you are wearing medical graduated compression in order to get the proper benefits. Medical graduated compression applies the most pressure at the ankles and decreases as it moves up the leg to help move the blood in your feet and lower legs back up to the heart. Wearing compression regularly will drastically improve your circulation and overall health. Plus, your legs will feel great throughout the day!
5. Get a Massage
Massages not only feel great, but they can also be very beneficial for your health. Massaging your muscles helps improve circulation and also helps your muscles to relax. Massages are also a great way to cleanse and improve your lymphatic system. Lymphatic buildup can cause issues and have a negative impact on your health. Massaging helps to break up lymphatic buildup. Always go to a licensed, accredited massage therapist. You should also talk to your doctor first about getting a massage and if they have any specific recommendations. If you don't want to spend the extra money, you can easily give yourself a leg massage at home!
6. Elevate Your Feet and Legs
As mentioned before, your body is fighting against gravity to pump the blood from your feet and legs all the way back up to your heart. Elevating your legs can help go against gravity to move the blood back to the heart easier for better circulation. Elevating your legs often can also reduce swelling or the achy, tired feeling in your legs. If you sit for long periods, use a stool to rest your feet on. In order to get the most benefit, try to elevate your feet so they are above the level of your heart.
7. Avoid Heat
While warm temperatures can feel great sometimes, such as laying in the sun or taking a warm bath, heat can exacerbate swelling symptoms. If you suffer from bad swelling in your legs, avoid too much exposure to heat. Switch to cool or warm showers and don't take very long or hot baths. In the summer, you may want to avoid direct sunlight or sitting outside for too long if it is hot out. Try sitting in the shade or only sitting outside for short periods at a time.