How Weather Affects the Circulatory System

How does cold weather affect your circulation?

Your circulation and blood pressure can change throughout the day, depending on your activity levels, sitting position and even the weather. If you spend time outside in the cold weather, naturally your body will react in order to protect itself. In cold weather, your blood vessels will constrict which means that blood flow is restricted and your heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. As a result, your blood pressure and heart rate can increase and your circulation can become slowed down.


Why do my fingers go numb when cold?

When you find yourself in cold surroundings, your body will try to conserve heat by drawing blood away from the surface of your skin. By constricting the blood vessels leading to your extremities, your body directs the warm blood towards the center of your body, where your vital organs are the main focus. This keeps your body warm, but can leave you with numb fingers and toes!

As the blood drains from your capillaries, your fingers can feel numb and they may become pale. To avoid this happening, you can wear gloves if you’re spending time outside in the cold; once you get back into the warm, your fingers should return to normal as your blood vessels open up again and the blood starts to flow to your fingertips.

Does cold weather make circulation worse?

As I’ve mentioned, cold weather can slow down the rate at which blood is pumped around your body as arteries and blood vessels become constricted in response to cold. However, by following good habits in winter we can keep our blood pumping properly and maintain good circulation.

How can I improve my circulation in winter?

Sometimes, when the weather is cold and miserable, the last thing on your mind is exercise. However, it’s important to stay active and keep moving as we know this will improve our circulation, as well as keep us warm! There are easy exercises that can be done at home, such as this resistant band workout, or you can wrap up warm and take a walk outside.

Speaking of wrapping up warm, this is another important habit you should get into during colder months. If you suffer from poor circulation – make sure to wear a hat, scarf and gloves if it’s cold outside. And if temperatures drop to zero or below, add in some thermal underwear, especially if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. You can always remove these extra layers once you get to work; staying warm should be top of your list of priorities.

Drinking plenty of water is a habit that should continue all year round! When winter rolls around, bringing the cold weather with it, we might be tempted to reach for copious amounts of tea, coffee and hot chocolate to keep ourselves warm and cosy; drinking a cold glass of water might not seem so appealing. However, if you keep yourself hydrated, it will dilute your blood and improve blood flow. If you need some extra motivation to drink water, try opting for some warm water and infusing it with fresh fruit. 

Finally, you should opt for a circulation-boosting diet: blackberries, for example, promote new blood cell formation and contain antioxidants which can decrease high blood pressure and improve blood flow. Why not try stewing blackberries to add a warm, comforting element to your breakfast on cold mornings?

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