Tippy-toe trick that delivers all day joy!
F eeling foggy and fatigued? Age-related slowdowns in circulation deprive your body of the nutrient-rich blood it needs to function in top form. The good news: Tiny tweaks can get your blood flowing for feel- great pep! Stand on your tiptoes! One quick and easy way to increase your circulation in less than 30 seconds: Lift your heels. Doing so works the soleus mus- cles at the back of your calves, which act like a “second heart” to push blood through the veins and arteries as they contract. How to: Stand while gripping a counter or sturdy chair back for support. Then raise your heels to transfer your weight to the balls of your feet and squeeze your calf muscles for one second. Lower and repeat 20 times. Chuckle over a video! “Pleasurable activities like laughing have been shown to stimulate circulation,” says Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Goddesses Never Age. Enjoying yourself is so potent that researchers from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore report that watching a funny film for 15 minutes improves circulation by 22%. And scientists from the University of Texas say the happy effect lasts for 24 hours! Enjoy a mocha sip! “Coffee is proven to boost blood flow,” says Edison de Mello, M.D., founder of the Akasha Center in Santa Monica, California. In fact, the jolt of caffeine in your cup of joe is so effective at enhancing the healthy functioning of the cells lining blood vessel walls that experts at the American Heart Association say a single cup improves blood circulation by 30%. Up the effects even more by sprinkling your java with a teaspoon of dark chocolate powder. Cocoa’s flavonoids are proven to keep arteries flexible, which is key to optimal blood flow. Take micro walks! Moving your body is key to keeping blood flowing and circulation strong—yet most of us spend a full 13 hours a day sitting in the car, at the kitchen table and at our desks! The simple solution: Set a timer as a reminder to take a two- to three-minute break every hour to walk around the office, stroll down your driveway, or bring the clean laundry upstairs. Research from the American Heart Association reveals that these little bursts of light movement add up, reversing a full six hours of inactivity by the time you wrap up your day. —Kallie E. Kristensen