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Questions from the gym: How can I improve the circulation in my legs?

One of the questions that seems to be getting asked a lot recently is how do I improve the circulation in my legs, they feel cold all the time, they look all white and I am worried about the state of my feet.

Poor circulation generally occurs when there is not enough muscle function to pump blood and lymph fluid from the bottom of legs back up towards your heart. This results in an accumulation of fluid below your knees and can cause swelling, cold feeling and discoloration.

What we need to do is work out how we can increase the muscle activity to do its job or whether we might need manual facilitation to do this for us. Below is a list of ways that we at NextStep can help to improve the circulation in your lower legs:

  • If you still have some muscle function then we can start by doing some more aerobic exercises, cycling, treadmill etc and adding in some step ups and calf raises to focus on your lower limb muscle function.

  • Vibration training - we use vibration therapy as a way to improve the muscle function both stimulating the muscles to activate and also using the vibration as a massage to encourage more fluid movement.

  • Electrical stimulation - we also use electrical stimulation to contract the lower limb muscles thus allowing the fluid pump to work efficiently. We have numerous devices we can use for this and it generally requires lying down with your feet up while the machine works for around 20 minutes.

  • Massage - We also use massage to manually push fluid back up towards your heart. Not only can we do this with our hands but we have some fancy technology that you can wear on your legs that acts in the same way as a manual massage and does a really good at getting that fluid moving. We also have a couple of great massage therapists located within our Mount Maunganui facility!

We can see that there are many options available to you here at NextStep, finding the right one that works for you might help you to improve those cold, swollen feet and get you feeling warmer!

Woman lies on Powerplate vibration machine

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