The 1 dead-simple health trick I love
Let's face it. Living a healthy life is hard. After all, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
So when I find a health tip that's easy & good for your body? It's like opening a present on Christmas morning.
And today, I've found one — elevating your legs.
It sounds crazy, I know. But it's true. Simply elevating your legs can give a huge health boost to your body. And today, I want to talk to you about why you should lift your legs more often.
The Health Benefits
For starters, it's great for your blood flow. Believe it or not, the same thing that helps you stay on earth… can actually weaken your blood flow. Yup — I'm talking about gravity.
You see, when your heart pumps blood, it's sending oxygen throughout your body. So when you're sitting or standing, it's easy to send blood down to your feet. But the return trip? Your veins are fighting against gravity to get the blood back towards your heart.
But when you elevate your legs, you flip the script. Now, your blood is working with gravity. Not fighting against it. It makes it easier for your blood to make it back, which helps with circulation.
It can also reduce swelling. Swelling can happen for a number of reasons. But one of the most common reasons is excess fluid in your body. Remember our old friend gravity? It drags fluid downwards. So any excess starts to pool up near your feet, ankles and legs.
And just like with blood flow, simply elevating your legs can help out. It allows any excess fluid to drain more effectively. Because, again, it doesn't have to fight gravity.
And third, it can lower pressure in your legs. Standing or sitting for a long time can cause blood to pool in your veins. This could cause an increase in pressure in your veins. But by lifting your legs, you can help the pooled blood clear out.
Helps With Health Conditions Too
It can also help with some health conditions. Now, just a reminder. I'm not a doctor. If you have any of these conditions, it never hurts to ask your doctor for help. But I have done my research. And my research shows, simply lifting your legs can help out quite a bit.
First off, it helps with vein conditions. Seems pretty obvious, but it's worth mentioning. Any prolonged period of sitting or standing can cause a vein condition. Some of the more common ones are:
- Superficial thrombophlebitis
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Varicose veins
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
These 4 have to do with 2 problems: blood clots and blood pools. And they can be very serious. DVT, for example, could cause anywhere from leg swelling and pain to a pulmonary embolism.
It's also helpful after injuries. If you've injured your leg, you've probably had some pain, tenderness or swelling. Not fun.
But there's a reason that you always see a person's leg hanging high from a sling in TV shows after an injury. It's good for the leg! And that means it's good for you too. Elevating your legs can help with symptoms after an injury.
Speaking of the hospital, it's also great after surgery. Blood clots are a big concern after surgeries, especially when it involves the legs or hip.
Keeping your legs elevated after surgery can help lower the risk of blood clots. It keeps your blood moving and can even help ease pain & swelling.
You may not know this, but it also helps during pregnancy. We've all seen women's feet swell up while pregnant. It's because women have to hold more water during pregnancy than normal. And throughout the day, our old friend gravity drags it down to our feet.
A less-common use could be for folks with cellulitis. Cellulitis is a skin infection that's often caused by bacteria. It can cause irritated skin and swelling.
Now, you can't fix your cellulitis with simple elevation. You need antibiotics for that. But your doctor could recommend lifting the limb above your heart to help with the swelling.
And finally, there's lymphedema. It's a condition that can happen when your lymphatic system takes damage. It causes lymphatic fluid to collect in your body. And — believe it or not — that pools and causes swelling.
Lifting your legs can help early on, but it won't do much in the late stages.
How to Lift Your Legs
I promise it's dead simple to lift your legs. The trick is knowing how often and for how long to lift. It all depends on what you're trying to help fix. Ask your doctor if you're not sure.
But in general, you can follow my easy, 3-step formula.
- Move into a comfortable reclining or lying down position. You can do this in bed, in your favorite recliner or even on the floor if you really want to.
- Position your legs so they're above the level of your heart. We want gravity to work in our favor here. Pro tip: grab a pillow and put it under your legs. This will help your legs stay high and comfortable.
- Wait. You'll probably want to keep your legs elevated for about 15 minutes. You can read a book, watch a TV show, or have a phone call with a friend. Anything to help you pass the time.
I'd recommend you do this 3 to 4 times a day. That way, you can really affect gravity's pull on your legs.
Elevating your legs can be a huge help to your health. And unlike a lot of other options, it's pretty easy to start. Leave a comment below letting me know how often you plan on doing this.