The circulatory system is your body’s power grid, delivering oxygen and nutrients to where they’re most needed. Get your blood circulation in full working order and everything else will function better, too. You’ll be immune to fatigue, and you’ll have the best sex of your life.
Improve Brain Power
Your choroidal artery supplies blood to the hippocampus, your brain’s memory centre. Boost the flow to up your attention span.
Solve mental problems at speed with this exercise. Lie with a foam roller under your shoulders, head cradled in your hands. Lift your hips off the floor and roll the foam to the bottom of your ribs and back. Spend 30 seconds on each roll and repeat 4 times. “This increases blood flow to the brain,” says fitness coach Alex Poole.
Lift More Weight
Supercharge your next heavy workout by improving the flow of blood in your brachial artery (upper arm). This will increase nutrient delivery to your muscles during workouts, ensuring you finish that third set triumphantly.
Research from the Athens Medical School found that one cup of green tea widens your brachial artery in just 30 minutes. So make a brew half an hour before your morning workout. Not a green tea fan? “Black tea also reduces clotting risk,” says Dr Jeremy Spencer of the Department of Food Biosciences at Reading University in the UK.
If your circulatory system is the power lines, your heart is the engine room pumping 14,000 litres of blood a day. Keeping it strong is the basis of your cardio fitness, giving you stamina in any sport.
On your bike, pedal at 50 to 60 per cent of max effort for 30 minutes. Germany’s Leipzig University found that this boosts blood flow through the heart. “It could even help the growth of new blood vessels,” says vascular surgeon Dr Jonathan Earnshaw. So, a ride before work can directly affect your long-term health.
Enjoy Better Sex
Not all erections are created equal. Greater blood supply means hypersensitivity – also known as the best sex of your life.
Start foreplay early with a cup of coffee sprinkled with cinnamon. The spice leads to 20 per cent increased blood flow to the penis, according to The Smell & Taste Treatment & Research Foundation in the US. “The effects last 16 hours,” says study leader Dr Alan Hirsch. But you’ll only notice it when you’re aroused, so there’s no danger of an inappropriate “boner” in mid-presentation (unless you’re more interested in the office hottie’s cleavage than your slides).
Keep Your Energy Levels High
The flow of blood to the lungs runs through your pulmonary artery. Unhindered, this essential energy supply delivers oxygen to every cell in your body, keeping you tack-sharp until the day is over.
Have a slice of watermelon after lunch. The fruit contains a compound called citrulline, which relaxes blood vessels. The effects are two-fold: First, it will aid your continuing recovery from your morning workout. Second, it will prevent your artery walls from thickening, which would trigger lethargy as the afternoon drags on. Also, enhance your good work by always answering nature’s call. Chinese researchers found that having a full bladder constricts the flow of blood through the pulmonary artery by 19 per cent. Drain that vein – often – and you’ll stay sharp until it’s time to go home.
Be More Explosive
The femoral artery transports blood to your thighs. When fed with enough of the red stuff, it can help you generate explosive power when you strike a ball, which could be the winning touch in tonight’s five-a-side football match.
Increase blood flow to your leg muscles by adding a Ryan Giggs-style yoga move to your regular warm-up. “Kneel down and lower your elbows to the floor in front of you,” says Olga Allon, founder of Hot Bikram Yoga. “Lower your forearms and hands to the mat and breathe. On the exhale, straighten your legs so your body forms an A, with your bum in the air. Hold for five.” Trust us, that lightweight ’keeper of theirs has no chance.
Try: Progressive muscle relaxation.
Like novelty pants, the day’s hang-ups have no place in the bedroom. Take control of blood flow to make worries melt away.
Reset your circulatory system for a peaceful eight hours with “progressive muscle relaxation”. Starting with your feet and working up to your neck, tense every muscle for 10 seconds, then release for 20. Research in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found this reduces blood pressure, so you’ll fall asleep relaxed and wake up with your body’s essential lifelines pumped for another day.