Increase Circulation And Blood Oxygen To Win Big
August 11th, 2021
(8 Minute Read)
Lactic Acid - It's Not The Problem You Thought It Was
Many are under the impression that those sore muscles are caused by a build up of lactic acid. While lactic acid might have been the reason you ran out of juice in the gym, or the reason you don’t have much energy left later in the day, its not the main reason you are feeling sore.
The Truth: Your Muscles Have A Ton Of Micro-tares In Them
When you exercise, especially with resistance training, you are intentionally injuring your muscle on a very small scale. The healing process is what encourages growth and strength gain. So the key: Speed the healing process up as fast as possible.
But how can we do this?
Like mentioned earlier, there’s a few things that go into this, but they mean little without maximum blood circulation. Your muscle is in need of fuel to repair itself, i.e. it needs proper nutrients. So your nutrition is going to have a significant impact on recovery. But assuming that you are properly timing your macro nutrient intake, they need to be delivered to your muscles.
In Comes Circulation and Blood Oxygen Levels
So you have been eating well and maybe even taking a few supplements, great! Now let’s get that stuff to where it needs to be.
First: Blood Oxygen. The higher your blood oxygen, the more dilated your blood cells are going to be, and the more nutrients they are going to be able to pack inside them. So your goal is to increase this, so you can bring larger volumes of nutrients to your muscles.
Next: Circulation. While Blood Oxygen increases volume of nutrients per cell, Circulation is going to increase the speed of delivery and overall volume of nutrients delivered. Hopefully this explanation gives you a good, basic, understanding of why these things are crucial for speeding up recovery.
Good News: There’s additional benefits to increasing these two things outside of recovery of exercise. Here are 3 More Reasons you should have the goal to increase these two systems.
1. Improve Heart Health
Better circulation and blood flow means that your heart does not have to work as hard. Less strain on your heart on the daily is certainly a good thing, and promising for a longer lasting, better functioning, vital organ.
2. Increased Energy Levels
Increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood means that your body can break down glucose at a higher rate. Glucose is used by the body for many different things. At a cell level, it is used for the creation of ATP, which is your foundation for energy
3. Better Endurance
So Lactic Acid might not be what’s causing you to get sore muscles, but it is a big reason you are running out of energy while exercising and “hitting the wall”. Your body starts producing higher levels of lactic acid when oxygen becomes less available. Increase Oxygen, you’ll decrease lactic acid, and find better endurance while exercising.
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So How Can You Achieve Better Circulation?
There are a few things that you can do to help increase circulation. Although exercise creates sore muscles, causing lack of blood flow post workout, it also promotes blood flow itself. But most aren’t looking to hit the gym when they are having a hard time walking up stairs. What we have done with clients in the past is give options for “active rest days.” Basically, you’re not exercising intensely, but you are finding ways to move. Here’s a few we have had success with:
This will undoubtedly help to promote blood flow to muscles. Stretch those sore muscles gently and often. It will help shorten your healing time.
Not far off from stretching, however, if you would like to do more than a basic stretch, yoga offers a nice “next tier” option that is only slightly more challenging and definitely more beneficial than a light stretch. Yoga is our number 1 recommendation.
3. Body Weight Exercise
If you can handle some lunges, push-ups, pull-ups and any other movements relative to your sore spots, do a couple sets of 8-10. You’ll be glad you did the next day.
4. Take A Walk
If all of this seems too much, something is always better than nothing. Going for a walk is at the very least a way to get blood moving in the lower half of your body.
Eat To Boost Circulation and Oxygen Levels
So you have a great base now on why blood flow is important, and what you can physically do to improve it. But you can work on it from another angle also! There are certain foods out there that will signal your body to increase circulation and help improve blood oxygen levels. Here are 5 that we recommend:
A great, tasty treat, which we recommend everyone to enjoy in the first half of their day. Berries contain Anthocyanin, which lowers blood pressure and increases oxygen delivery to muscle.
2. Cayenne Pepper
Use some here and there. It contains capsaicin, which relaxes blood vessels and decreases blood pressure.
3. Fatty Fish & Fish Oil
If you have a brief conversation with me, I will insist that a QUALITY Fish Oil is the single best natural supplement anyone can take. Omega-3s boost circulation and lowers your resting blood pressure. At the same time, they will fight to keep your arteries free from blockages. But this is just the tip of what these foods will do for your well-being and goals.
Another source of Omega-3s, it also contains alpha-linolenic acid, which improves blood vessel health, makes them more flexible and lowers blood pressure.
It’s a vasodilator (widens blood vessels) which helps to reduce blood pressure and increase healthy circulation. A bonus? It also helps promote healthy digestive health.
A Passive, Work Free Option
All of these are important, and come highly recommended in trying to aid a faster recovery from anything that has been considered work by your muscles. But we also love how infrared treatments can boost the results of all the remedies above.
Infrared Sauna Blankets are an effective and reliable tool in helping with circulation. So much so, that they are being used in hospitals now to help patients who are immobile and need help promoting blood circulation.
Regular sessions will help to increase circulation, and promote not only muscle recovery, but also a variety of health benefits. Increased blood flow to the body will also help improve the function of all your internal organs, improve lymphatic flow so that cell waste is quickly and properly disposed, and help with healthier digestion.