"Move around! Get your blood flowing!" It's the predictable, eye-roll-inducing tip suggested to anyone caught shivering, but it's surprisingly sound advice.
Good circulation isn't just a means to surviving the Winter weather, though, it's actually integral to the viability of all your organs, explained Dr. Devendra Brahmbhatt, MD, vascular surgeon and director of the Wound Care and Hyperbarics at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital in New York.
Things we take for granted like the pain-free use of our legs, for example, can be chalked up to good circulation. According to Dr. Brahmbhatt, proper leg circulation pumps blood to the feet and heart, which in return prevents ulcers, sores, claudication, and blood clots.
Wearing knee-high compression socks or elevating your legs with a stool both fall under good circulation etiquette — especially while sitting through your 9-to-5 every day. But finding ways to get active in the confines of your cubicle can really get you through those cold office days.
Here are a few guaranteed ways to get your blood flowing — recommended by Dr. Evelina Grayver, MD, director of the Coronary Care Unit at NorthShore University Hospital in New York.
Seated Leg Raises
- Sit upright in your office chair.
- Straighten your left leg so it is parallel to the floor, and hold it in place in 10 seconds.
- Repeat with right leg.
- Repeat for 15 reps each leg.
- Once you build strength, try adding weight to your legs by looping your purse or briefcase on your legs while you do the raises.
- Scoot up to the very front edge of your chair, place your legs out in front of you, and place your hands on either side of your hips, fingers pointing toward your desk.
- Grasp the edges of the chair with both hands, and use your core and arms to raise your body up off the chair and then down so your rear goes as close to the floor as possible. Make sure your chair is secure and won't roll away.
- Push yourself back up, and repeat 15 times. Complete three sets of 15 reps.
Water Bottle Free Weights
- Reach for two filled water bottles.
- Overhead presses: Using these as weights, do three sets of 15 reps.
- Arm curl: Do three sets of 20 reps.