Bruce Lee has a famous quote,
“You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.
You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.
You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
...water can flow or it can crash.
Be water, my friend."
Now, why am I beginning a blog about circulation with a Bruce Lee quote?
Because the human body functions as a fluid system. And we are made up of mostly water.
Your body's ability to move the fluid through the entire body - aka circulation - is essential for overall health & well-being.
Just like our body, “water can flow or it can crash.”
When you have good circulation, nutrients are flowing and the body-mind has energy.
With poor circulation, the body-mind becomes like a stagnant pond - sluggish, congested & a breeding ground for problems.
The body is amazing & adaptable.
Even when we are sitting completely still, our bodies are in constant motion.
Our heart continues to course blood through our veins & arteries. Our chest continues to rise & fall with the breath. And sure, this is enough for us to survive.
The body is wired for survival, so it will adapt to whatever you're doing.
But, the body & mind function so much more efficiently when we are actively doing things to aid & support the circulation process.
WHY IS CIRCULATION IMPORTANT?
Healthy circulation is essential for all the other systems of the human body to function properly.
Without a healthy circulatory system, muscles & tendons don’t receive the oxygen & nutrients they need, while carbon dioxide & wastes have nowhere to go.
Fluid builds up in joints. Arteries begin to clog. The brain doesn’t get the blood supply it needs to function properly. Which all lead to discomfort, pain, illness & disease.
HOW DOES CIRCULATION WORK?
- Together, this system is responsible for the flow of blood, oxygen & hormones. This constant flow facilitates the delivery of nutrients throughout the body & the removal of unnecessary wastes from cells & organs.
Although it is a part of the immune system, the lymphatic system processes excess fluid that drains from cells & tissue, called lymph, until it can be returned to the bloodstream.
If the body were a house, the lymphatic system would be the drains & the cardiovascular system would be the pipes.
WHAT ARE SIGNS ARE POOR CIRCULATION?
There are many reasons why the body decides to hold fluids in certain areas. But, most often it is protection as a response to an injury.
Post-injury, if you don’t encourage re-circulation through rehab, stretching, bodywork, etc. - the body may continue to hold & protect.
Over time the buildup of fluids can lead to many health issues.
The longer the swelling lasts, the harder it can be to get rid of.
👉🏼 Muscle Cramps
Often occur in the legs when the body can’t supply enough oxygen through the bloodstream.
The pain will increase as circulation decreases.
👉🏼 Cold Hands & Feet
The lack of proper blood flow will cause the extremities, especially the fingers & toes, to be colder than the rest of the body.
👉🏼 Numbness & Tingling
Over time, poor circulation can cause the hands & feet to go numb until blood can return, which creates a tingling sensation. This can cause permanent nerve damage, known as neuropathy.
👉🏼 Fatigue & Constant Sleepiness
When the body has to struggle to get blood flow up to the brain, you’ll feel slow & heavy.
If the body is struggling to replenish energy resources because of poor circulation, you may feel easily fatigued after just a little bit of activity.
👉🏼 Other common issues caused by poor circulation: digestive problems, low libido, erectile dysfunction, weakened immune response, varicose veins, and more.
WHAT CAUSES POOR CIRCULATION?
👉🏼 Lack of mobility
Many of our joints depend on movement in order to push fluid through the entire body. If joints are not taken through their full range of motion, the body protects by layering extra tissue & stiffening.
Sitting still for extended periods of time can disrupt normal circulation to the lower limbs. Immobility can be a large factor in the development of conditions that block circulation.
👉🏼 Muscular Tension
Chronically tight muscles restrict the movement of fluid. Especially, when they are tight in a shortened position. Think of the difference between holding water in a clenched fist versus a soft semi-open fist.
👉🏼 High blood pressure
Over time, extra force in the circulation system will weaken blood vessels, making them less elastic & decreasing the flow of blood through the body.
👉🏼 High cholesterol
Elevated levels of cholesterol lead to the buildup of plaque in blood vessels. This causes them to narrow & slows circulation.
Being severely overweight can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease & type 2 diabetes, which all severely impede circulation.
WAYS TO IMPROVE CIRCULATION:
Deep breathing - The diaphragm is like an internal pump.
Practicing diaphragmatic breathing (even just 2 minutes a day!) can dramatically improve circulation.
Exercise - Muscles are like pumps for fluid within the body.
By stretching & contracting skeletal muscle (think biceps, quadriceps, abs, etc.) you assist your body’s ability to circulate fluid & get rid of waste.
Self-Lymphatic drainage massage
This is a gentle type of massage that works with the superficial layers of the skin. The intention is to guide fluid towards the main lymph nodes & heart in order to support healthy circulation.
By reducing tension in your muscles & in your mind, everything in your body will function better.
By participating in daily activities that increase your circulation, you will:
- Have more natural energy
- Improve mental clarity & focus
- Reduce your risk for heart disease
- Improve digestion
- Feel stronger & more confident in your body
So, Be like water my friends. 🙏🏼
Hi I’m Jessi,
For the past 10 years, I’ve been helping people of all ages & fitness levels reframe their relationship with movement. As a Holistic Fitness Trainer, I not only train people’s bodies, I also help them shift their mindsets to see movement as a tool for mental well being & physical vitality.
My goal is to provide accessible health & fitness content in a welcoming space. I simplify how the body works to help you stay active & injury-free.
There is no one-size-fits-all, but there are building blocks that we all can use to better understand what our body’s need, so we can design movement regimens that work for each of us.
My coaching style focuses on strong foundations of body awareness & stabilization. I combine techniques from Yoga, Pilates, Strength Training, Massage Therapy & Mindfulness to craft well thought out & customized training plans to support all clients. To read more about my certifications, click here.
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