May I share some important information that can easily save your life? Let’s learn about the ABC’s of blood clots.
The ABC in our title stands for Avoiding Blood Clots, and while most of us have heard different things about this subject, most of us don’t know what are the most important things we can do each day to prevent blood clots. My goal today will be educate you as to how this works so will want to get on your own ABC routine!
Now before we go any further, let me say that blood clots are a medical condition that MUST be addressed with your doctor. This article is going to focus on how you can prevent blood clots from forming unnecessarily due to inactivity. This does not mean I am suggesting that my Wizardly advice solves all blood clot problems, because it does not. Please do not use this information without speaking to your doctor first.
So how can we save our own life and assist ourselves in preventing blood clots, when perhaps our life isn’t as active as it was, and perhaps we sit longer than we’d like to admit? We do this first with a bit of education and I’d like to start with an image.
When I was about six years old, my family and I lived on a farm in upstate New York. In this farmhouse, there was an old fashioned water pump in the front yard. Though we had running water, my brothers and I would work this pump delighted in the fact we could get water from it. I’d like to think about your heart as a pump that pumps blood into the body as best it can.
Now here’s the rub; the blood that moves or is pumped the fullest and strongest, is the blood closest to the heart. In fact, the farther away we go from the heart, the less movement the blood gets.
So the body has a wonderful mechanism to make sure the blood gets fully pumped and moved around, especially in the lower legs (which are farthest from the heart). When I contract my legs muscles, that squeezing of the muscles is like working that old fashioned pump, I actually assist in the movement of blood by moving! Therefore if I don’t move, my blood doesn’t either…
And while the body is designed to sleep so much per day, which doesn’t hurt us, it is NOT designed to sit all day and not move. When the body doesn’t move and is in a seated position hour upon hour, not only is our blood flow compromised because we are squashing the pipes (the blood vessels), we are also keeping our blood from moving properly. If your blood has the right combination of gunk in it and you sit too much, you will form a clot, which in turn can kill you. So how do we prevent this? Like my brothers and I used do; play with the pump!
The pump is your legs. When they move, your blood moves. So here are some amazing, life saving movements you can do while seated (do once every 15 minutes if you don’t get up):
Single Leg Extension: Extend your leg out in front of you, squeeze the muscle tight above the knee. Ten times. Switch legs and repeat.
Toe Pointers: Extend the leg, and point and flex your foot, tightening up the calf muscle. Ten times. Switch legs and repeat.
Foot Rolls: Extend the leg, and roll the foot in circles, ten times in one direction, then ten the other way. Switch legs and repeat. (You may also do all these movements on one leg at a time!)
These simple movements pump the blood and can save your life. For those of you that travel on airplanes you are probably familiar with the cards in the seat pockets that tell you to get up and move to assist with blood clots as well. Airlines do this to avoid lawsuits. In my opinion, any long term seated activity has the ability to hurt you as well- meaning your couches, recliners, desk chairs, the seats in your car, etc. Do you want my advice to save your life? “If you sit, then move!”
Blessings from the Wizard!
John Paul Ouvrier, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. He is the author of ‘The Wizard of Youth’ series for adults and children, the creator of ‘The Wizard of Youth 4 Kids Board Game’ and the Executive Director of Fitness For Charity. His websites are: http://wizardofyouth.com. & http://fitness4charity.org. He can be reached at email@example.com