Circulation is in trouble when you notice . . .
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Pain, numbness, cramping or swelling of the legs, feet or hands.
Infections that don't heal quickly – or mysterious wounds.
Loss of libido.
Reduced mental acuity.
Chronic headache.
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Not everyone swims to Alcatraz.
You might.

My best friend, at 85, goes to the college gym every morning at 6:30 for a workout and a swim. Her dream is to swim to Alcatraz, and she yet might.

It's always too early to give up and give out. The eldest of us has more life in our hearts than a bevy of youths who haven't felt the rush of new worlds found.

That said, one need not be foolish.

Even the least physical among us can do things to stimulate circulation, nurture muscles and energize our days.

Fresh air + sunshine = strength.

We live in context. With the natural world. Shut inside, without sunlight or air, our bodies lose touch with the energies that sustain us. If you travel time-zones, you know that the best way to recover from jet-lag is to get up and out in the sunrise. The body knows. The world sustains us. Keep the connection, even if it's just stepping out the door, sitting on a balcony or relaxing in a chair by a sunny window.
Air conditioning may be one of the most influential inventions of the last three centuries, but processed air allows us to be shut away from fresh air, breezes, the scent of growing things, sea breezes. If you're stuck inside, sneak out when you can. Too hot during the day? Steal a bit of twilight time, breathe deep.

Keep breath + blood flowing.

Sitting around, the daily routines of someone with no-one to care for, our lungs get into shallow habits. The muscles of breathing grow lax. The tiny balloons of our breath, unused, lose elasticity, fill with fluids, are lost to us. Every day, take a walk or move the large muscles while you're sitting or lying in bed. Bicycle in the air. Swing your arms. Lift your chest, expand your lungs, breathe deep.
The motions of the large muscles, particularly in the legs, are what make our blood flow back to the heart. Arteries are muscles, propelling blood out. Veins are slackers, relying for propellant energy on the muscles through which they run. If we don't move our muscles, blood stagnates, vein wall stretch, the arteries themselves grow weak. So get your pulse going at a comfortable pace and keep it there a while. Your healthcare team can give you instructions – build up slowly if you've let it go. Don't make yourself dizzy or raise your blood pressure high – in the long run, regular heart exercise is a key element in avoiding + controlling high blood pressure.
Vigorous blood flow also helps keep blood vessels clear of obstruction. Diet, body habits, medicines, other things influence too the accumulation of litter in the pathways to the heart. In particular, severe circumstances, your doctor may advise complete rest or warn against bringing your bloodflow up, but for most of us most of the time, it's use it or lose it.

    Extend the reach, keep joints supple.

     Build stretching into daily routines. Keep your favorite cup on a higher shelf. Reach up to touch the door-frame when you change rooms. Balance on your feet when you lower into a chair, put your butt out and don't use your hands. Before getting out of bed, pull your knees to your chest and rotate them in circles in the air. Little motions, done daily, prevent the shrinkage of our physical world.
Movement disciplines can bring vigour to our days. Yoga, tai chi, qi gong, ballroom dancing, pilates – all these have decades + centuries of tradition marrying body movement to planetary motion. Do what feels good – for you. Nothing should hurt.
Weightlifting starts small, so don't dismiss it as too intense or far too narcissistic. You don't have to pull a Schwarzenegger. When you begin building a routine, at home or at the gym, get advice from a trainer. Little exercises can strengthen your weak points, avoid hurting your damage zones + build a sense of active well-being.

Air, sunlight, movement enrich life.

Version 1.0 | Update 5Sep11 | Needs lots more informative links; help us out. | Written by Paul Quin