100,000 heartbeats in a day, 3 billion heartbeats in a single lifetime. Our hearts beat ceaselessly, night and day, pumping all our blood through approximately 96,000 kilometers of blood vessels within a single minute. Without this pumping action, the billions of cells that make up the miracle of life would not be supplied with vital nutrients and oxygen. The perfect system, you might think – but this exemplary model of top performance does need the occasional challenge. Without it, your cardiovascular system can trip up and make you see stars. The good news for all you involuntary “stargazers” out there: our circulatory system can be trained like a muscle and stimulated with just a few basic techniques. Which is why we have included eight tips for you here today on how to get your cardiovascular system up and running.
1) Exercise to boost your cardiovascular system. The most powerful natural antidote to poor circulation is exercise. Just like your muscles, the cardiovascular system should be exercised on a regular basis. An active everyday routine combined with regular endurance sports (e.g. cycling, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing) is ideal. For example, if you cycle to work or university in the morning, you will be in much better shape for the rest of the day. Running errands on foot and taking a walk every evening can also be a good start to getting your circulation up and running.
2) Water, the elixir of life. Have you ever woken up after a night’s sleep with a dry mouth? We may not notice it, but we lose 0.5 to 2 liters of fluid overnight by breathing and through our skin. That’s why it’s important to refuel after getting up: a big glass of water, best enjoyed on an empty stomach, stimulates the circulation and helps supply the body with oxygen.
3) Try a power breakfast. Too busy, too distracted, too much weight to lose? There are many different reasons why people choose to skip breakfast. The first meal of the day is, however, the most important one. A healthy breakfast will recharge your energy supplies early in the day and stimulate your metabolism and circulatory system.
4) A hearty dose of micronutrients. For added nutritional support, why not try micronutrient supplements? For example, the water-soluble vitamin B1 and the two omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (at a minimum daily intake of 250 mg) contribute to maintaining healthy cardiac function, while magnesium and vitamin C help maintain normal energy metabolism. One very special plant-based substance – alongside grape seed and pine bark extract – is known as Fruitflow®. This substance is extracted from the jelly around tomato seeds and refined in a patented process. The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has confirmed that a daily intake of 150 mg of Fruitflow® helps maintain normal platelet function and blood flow.
5) Take a break from the rat race. While stress and tension were essential to survival in the days of mammoths and saber-toothed tigers, many of us now find ourselves caught in the “chronic stress trap”. Sooner or later, keeping our bodies in a constant state of readiness can have a negative impact on health and performance and, under certain circumstances, can also throw our circulation off balance. This makes it all the more important to be more mindful of ourselves and our needs. Regularly taking some time for yourself and listening to your body – this should become your personal credo. Consciously taking breaks for rest and relaxation can help relieve excessive stress.
6) Live and breathe! There is a close link between the heart and the respiratory system. Take a few deep breaths at an open window or on your balcony right after getting up to supply your brain with an extra helping of oxygen and let the fresh air invigorate you. If you want to experience the full benefits of healthy breathing, yoga offers special breathing techniques that can also help reduce stress.
7) The best way to your heart is...through your nose. Fragrances not only serve as powerful links to the past, evoking old memories and emotions, they can also influence physical and mental well-being. To activate your circulatory system, try fragrant herbal essences, such as rosemary, peppermint or thyme, for a refreshing buzz. They can stimulate your mind and body and counteract fatigue. Natural essential oils can be used as massage oils or as bath additives, in oil diffusers or in aroma lamps to create a pleasant atmosphere. What’s more, they have virtually no side effects.
8) Take the plunge: “Scottish showers”. The idea of waking up to a cold shower is enough to make most people shudder. Nevertheless, the Scottish shower will definitely wake you up in the morning and give your cardiovascular system an effective workout. In concrete terms, the Scottish shower involves showering under cold water (16-18°C) for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds under hot water (38-42°C) and another 30 seconds of cold water (10-15°C). Start with your feet and legs, as far away from your heart as possible. After that, spray your hands, arms and shoulders with cold water, and then give your back, chest and stomach a cold rinse. Real tough guys and gals will want to finish off with an icy cold shower over their heads and bodies. Older people suffering from heart conditions should exercise caution, consult their doctor and, if necessary, build up to this morning shower ritual gradually.
Conclusion: Whether you prefer hot and cold showers, early morning cycling or the targeted use of micronutrient supplements, these simple tips should make it easy for everyone to get their circulation going for an energy-packed start to the day.