How to Improve Circulation in Your Legs

Today, we'll look at the main ways to improve circulation in your legs with some simple steps that you can do every day.
How to Improve Circulation in Your Legs

Last update: 08 May, 2020

Poor circulation is a problem for many people. Sitting at a desk for hours, a more sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, and other factors all increase the risk of related conditions. Often, these factors specifically affect the circulation in your legs. In this article, we’ll look at ways that you can improve circulation in your legs.

Poor circulation is when the heart pumps the blood around the body, but then the blood has trouble returning to the heart. This can be caused by different factors, so let’s see what the main triggers are.

Sitting in the same position for long periods of time

The most effective way to prevent poor circulation in your legs or improve your symptoms is to avoid spending hours sitting in the same position. Think about how many hours you spend asleep, barely moving. And then, you wake up, get ready and go by car or public transport to go to work.

At work, you might spend eight hours or more just sitting at a desk. Then when you get home, you collapse on the sofa to watch TV for a while, have dinner, and finally go to bed. And so the cycle starts all over again the next day.

This example of a daily routine is horrible for circulation since you spend practically the whole day either sitting or lying down. You need to change posture frequently if you want to improve circulation.

If you take the bus or subway to go to work, it’s a good idea to stand instead or sit down. At work, try getting up regularly to go to the water cooler, go to the bathroom, or talk to a colleague. Once you get home, why not go for a walk. If you really want to watch TV, you can still stand up every now and then.

A woman climbing the stairs to improve circulation in her legs.

Raise your legs

Another way to improve circulation in your legs is to keep your legs elevated. When you’re lying on the sofa, use some cushions to keep your feet higher than the heart. In bed, you can also place some pillows under your legs to raise your feet above your head.

Doing this will mean that gravity aids the venous return. It’s a good idea to try and keep your legs elevated for at least a few minutes each day.

Exercises to improve circulation in your legs

The main thing that helps venous return is muscle action. If you’re exercising, your heart rate will increase, which in itself is already a great help. Then, contracting your leg muscles will compress the blood vessels, helping to push blood back to the heart.

This means that it’s really important to try and find the time to use those muscles. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Do squats or other exercises while watching TV.

One good idea is to cycle to work or, as previously mentioned, stand up on public transport. At lunchtime, grab a sandwich and go for a walk while you eat.

Once you get home, push yourself to go out for a walk or, better still, go for a run. You could even consider buying yourself an exercise bike or cross-trainer and then you can exercise in the comfort of your home.

But don’t be mistaken. We’re not talking about going to the gym to punish yourself. If you want to improve circulation in your legs, a daily walk will be just fine. Going for a run will obviously have a greater impact, but a walk every day will also have a positive affect.

Examine your habits and diet

Something else which causes poor circulation is being overweight. So, it’s important to eat a properly balanced diet. Some elements such as potassium can reduce the possibility of cardiovascular disease.

Smoking and alcohol consumption also negatively affect circulation. If you want to improve circulation, you should really consider cutting down or stopping altogether.

Two women walking.


Something that’s worth highlighting is the importance of drinking plenty of water. Ideally, you should drink between one and a half to two liters every day. Just like exercise or eating well, this can have a positive impact on many aspects of your health.

Although water will hydrate you inside, it can also be a good idea to hydrate yourself on the outside. There are various creams available to make your skin more elastic and thus improve its appearance.

Conclusion: change your lifestyle to improve circulation

As you can see, ultimately, the way to improve circulation in your legs is to lead a healthier life in general. This means doing more exercise, eating a more nutritious diet, cutting out the cigarettes, and drinking enough water. If you’re able to do all of this, you’ll be well on the way to improving the circulation in your legs.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • G. Matarán, S. Crespo, M. Rodríguez et al. Beneficios del ejercicio sobre la circulación arterial periférica en pacientes diabéticos tipo 2 con claudicación intermitente: serie de casos. Fisioterapia. Volume 31, Issue 6, November–December 2009, Pages 229-234
  • F. Mata, I. Chulvi, J. Roig et al. Prescripción del ejercicio físico durante el embarazo. Revista Andaluza de Medicina del Deporte. Vol. 3, núm. 2, junio, 2010, pp. 68-79
  • A. Cordero, M. D. Masiá, E. Galve. Ejercicio físico y salud. Revista Española de Cardiología. Volume 67, Issue 9, September 2014, Pages 748-753

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.