You may have heard the phrase “get your blood pumping.” Normally this simply refers to getting warmed up or doing cardio exercise, but if you have a circulatory condition such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) you can take it a little more literally—regular activity really does help your body keep blood flowing to every part of your body and improve natural circulation. Building exercise into your regular routine can ease symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, or in some cases even reverse it!
At the same time, we want to be sure that you’re being safe, especially since we’re out here in the Coachella Valley, where daytime highs are already cracking triple digits in April and May.
For sufferers of PAD, a simple walking program is often the most effective treatment. Fortunately, there’s lots of ways to work this into your schedule. You can go for a walk on your lunch break (if you can walk inside or it’s not too hot), or you can try to beat the heat and go for 3-5 longer walks per week in the early morning or later in the evening. You can also remember to take regular “walk breaks,” getting up and moving for 5 minutes every hour or two throughout the day.
If you need to retreat from the desert and seek the safety of a nice, climate-controlled gym or fitness center, treadmill exercise makes a good substitute. You can also try some leg strengthening and stretching exercises, too.
You can push through mild discomfort, but exercise shouldn’t be out-and-out painful—if it is, especially if you experience palpitations, chest pain, or shortness of breath, stop and call your physician right away. For most people who suffer from poor circulation and intermittent pain and claudication from PAD notice improvements within the first month of a new walking program, and reach peak shape in 3-6 months.
Before you start any new exercise program, though, check in with Harvey R. Danciger, DPM. He will evaluate your condition, determine if you have any special needs or risks, provide any additional treatment you may require, and help you build a safe and effective exercise program for home care. You can set up an appointment online, or call us today at 760-568-0108.
Photo credit: hyena reality via freedigitalphotos.net