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Don’t let poor circulation cramp your quality of life

Imagine if you could not enjoy your daily walk without experiencing pain, or if your muscles felt sore and cramped even when relaxing. Sadly one in five Australians experience poor circulation, and when this occurs it can have real impacts on quality of life. 

Our complex and vital circulatory system delivers blood, oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body so we can’t afford to take our circulation  for granted. Below are some flags on the roadmap towards better circulation, but remember to always consult your doctor with any concerns about your health and fitness.


Diabetes is the most significant risk factor for poor circulation. People with type 2 diabetes are three to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular conditions. Early detection and management of this disease is essential. Speak to your GP about the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

There are other risk factors too. If you are still smoking, now is the time to give up, because smoking can contribute to narrowing of arteries, impeding the blood from being transported around the body.

We’ve all heard the dangers of high blood pressure or high cholesterol. They work together to damage arteries and other blood vessels over time, so make sure you get regular health check-ups.

Being overweight or obese can cause excess pressure on our heart and lungs, as well as compress the blood supply throughout the body.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), in which blood supply to the legs and feet is compromised, can be a serious health issue. If you get muscle pain or cramping when walking, speak to your GP who can conduct a number of tests.

It may surprise you that even stress can contribute to poor circulation, due to a rise in Cortisol levels which can narrow arteries. If possible, find some ways to reduce stress, such as meditation, yoga and spending time in nature.


There can be many signs that your circulation is poor, because every organ and system in your body relies on good blood supply. Here are some common ones:

  • Pain or weakness in your muscles when you walk, or even at rest
  • A ‘pins and needles’ sensation on your skin
  • Pale or blue skin
  • Cold fingers or toes
  • Numbness
  • Varicose veins
  • Swelling
  • Cramps


Prevention, as they say, is better than a cure. Below are three simple ways to help improve your circulation before it leads to potential health problems: 

  • Activity: One of the best ways to support your circulatory system is to keep active. Prolonged inactivity can lead to a build-up of fatty material in your blood vessels,  making it hard to circulate blood throughout the body.
  • Hydration: Keeping hydrated helps your heart pump blood to your muscles more easily, which helps them work more efficiently.
  • Diet: Remember the old adage ‘we are what we eat’? A healthy balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats will keep blood vessels healthy and aid blood circulation.

It’s never too late to implement some changes in your daily routines in order to maintain optimum circulation. Be alert to changes in your body, and don’t neglect regular check-ups with your GP. Look after your all-important circulation and your body will thank you every day.