The holiday season is upon us, and that means tens of millions of Americans will soon be traveling by plane, train or automobile to connect with friends and family. Whether you’re traveling across the country or simply heading to visit relatives across the state, an extended period in a seated position can lead to circulatory problems. Since our feet are the body part that is furthest away from our heart, oftentimes it’s our feet that can feel the brunt of this decreased circulation. In hopes of keeping your feet and your whole body healthy, we’ve put together some tips for improving your circulation if you’ll be doing some holiday traveling this year.
Preventing Circulatory Problems When Traveling
Movement helps to improve our circulation, while sitting for long periods can inhibit our circulatory system. Unfortunately, you can’t always move around when you need to remain seated while traveling. If you have poor circulation as a result of diabetes or are at risk of blood clots because of a different health issue, it’s imperative that you work to keep blood flowing normally while you’re traveling. Here are some ways to help improve circulation to your ankles and feet when traveling for the holidays this year.
- Leave Early – If you’re driving to your destination, leave early so that you can break up the trip with a pit stop or two. Not only will a quick break help to take static pressure off your neck and spine, but standing up and moving will help to pump blood all over your body. If you’re behind schedule, you may be reluctant to stop for a couple minutes to stretch and move. Leave a little earlier so that you can take a quick stretch at a rest stop or gas station to improve your circulation.
- Take Advantage Of Stretching Opportunities – If you’re riding along in a car or traveling by airplane, take advantage of any opportunities to get up and move. If you stop for gas, get out and stretch a bit. If the captain turns off the seat belt sign, stand up and move your body. Your body and your circulatory system will thank you for it.
- Foot Exercises – Unless you’re driving, you can do some light foot exercises to help keep the areas mobile and improve blood flow. Flex your feet upwards, downwards and side to side, or use your big toe to draw every letter of the alphabet. Do a couple minutes of foot exercises every 30-40 minutes to improve circulation to the area.
- Stay Hydrated – When you’re dehydrated, your blood vessels will constrict, making it more difficult for blood to flow easily to all structures. Conversely, remaining hydrated will make it easier for blood to flow around your body, so be sure you always have water nearby. Fill up a bottle or two for your next trip and strive to finish them before you reach your destination. Coffee and soda aren’t as great at keeping you hydrated, so pair either of these options with a bottle of water if you want a caffeine boost for your trip.
- Dress Right – We understand that you may want to look nice upon your arrival, but if you’re wearing tight jeans or restrictive clothing, not only may you be uncomfortable during your trip, but these clothes could also affect your circulation. Wear comfortable and loose clothing if you’ll be traveling for an extended period.
- Mind Your Meds – If you have a pre-existing condition that puts you at risk for circulatory problems, talk to your doctor about any medications that can lower your risk of an issue while traveling. Certain over-the-counter anti-inflammatories may prove helpful, as could prescription medications. Be sure that you have enough medication to get you through your entire trip so that you’re not rushing to a pharmacy in a foreign town.
Circulatory issues can develop during the holiday travel season, especially in diabetics, so be mindful of ways to prevent blood flow issues this season. And if you need help improving your circulation or managing a different foot or ankle condition, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.