Poor circulation occurs when your body cannot supply enough blood flow to meet your metabolic needs. According to the American Council on Exercise, the most common areas of the body in which to have poor circulation are the hands and feet. This causes the areas to ache, feel cold and often become numb throughout the day. There are exercises you can do and steps you can take to increase blood flow.
Perform a mini-massage on both your hands and feet once a day. According to the American Council on Exercise, massage stimulates blood flow and helps improve circulation. Use one hand to massage the other, rotating your thumb in small circles over your palm. Massage your feet in a similar fashion by rotating your thumbs in small circles over the heel, arch and ball. Massage for one to five minutes on each hand and foot to stimulate blood flow.
Take short walks throughout the day to help get the blood flowing through your legs and feet. According to Manuel Ortiz Braschi, author of "How to Improve Blood Circulation to the Legs and Feet Without Surgery or Drugs," just a five-minute walk through the office or around the block will improve circulation significantly. So will two or three short walks daily, and the extra activity will keep your body healthy.
Take a shower with hot and cold water to cause your blood to flow rapidly through your hands and feet. Begin the shower with water as hot as you can stand for approximately 30 seconds. Make sure to direct the water at your hands and feet as much as possible. This will increase blood flow to the area. Switch the water to cold for 30 seconds and the blood will rush out of your hands and feet to your chest to keep you warm. Braschi writes that you should do this once daily to increase circulation throughout your body.
Perform hand stretches throughout the day to get blood flowing through your hands and fingers. Extend your fingers as far as possible until you feel a slight stretch. Hold for two seconds before clenching your hands into tight fists for two seconds. Repeat this for one minute to increase hand circulation.
Perform foot circles when you are sitting to stimulate blood flow to your legs and feet. Stretch your legs out in front of you and move your feet in circles to the left for one minute, rotating the ankles. Switch to circles toward the right for one minute to balance the rotations. Perform this exercise twice daily to increase circulation.
Consult with your doctor if you experience poor circulation, as it could be a sign of a serious medical condition.