The pressure created by the heart in the arteries and capillaries is almost lost in the blood vessels that follow them-the veins. This lack of pressure may create a dangerous stall of blood flow in the legs whenever you stand or do not move for a long time. For this reason, to make the blood go back to the heart, other forces come into play.
The veins in your legs have valves which only let your blood flow in one direction Ц upward: from the toes to the thighs. When your heels hit the ground the blood passes through the valves and makes it to the heart. The process reminds of watching a bottle of wine, where the liquid hits the cork every time you hit the bottom of the bottle. Thus the body can utilize the stress that is created when you run so the blood flow in your legs is better.
Today, few of us run every day, not to mention multiple times a day. Most people either sit or stand for the larger part of their day. To counteract the stall of blood flow that ensues from this, the Russian academician Alexander Alexandrovitch Mikulin has created an easy to do exercise, which he calls vibro-gymnastics, to aid blood flow in the legs.
- The soles of your shoes must be hard, or better yet, you can do this barefoot.
- Lift your heels off the ground to about 1 cm, you don't need to go higher.
- Drop your heels back to the floor without too much force. You might want to keep your teeth presses together to minimize negative feelings from vibrations in your head.
- Do this about 30 times, and make sure you take at least a second between repetitions. If you do it too fast the blood won't have time to accumulate between valves.
- After you are done with your first set, take a 10 second break and repeat.
- Perform this exercise 4-5 times a day.
- whenever you sit or stand for long periods of time
- when you have to perform prolonged mental activities
- after walking for long periods of time
- when you have blood vessel abnormalities in your lower limbs,
such as varicose veins.
Another factor that helps your blood make it to the heart is muscle contractions. Whenever you are involved in a physical activity the muscle fibers enlarge and press on the veins, thus letting blood go back to the heart. This is the reason that after sleep we feel like stretching, so that we contract the muscles all over the body and blood that was slow during our sleep gets moving towards the heart.