With February being American Heart Month, we wanted to celebrate the powerful connection between our feet and heart, and the fact that our feet are actually considered our "second heart"!
Your “Foot Beat”
Your heart is a muscle that works to pump blood throughout your body, with our blood being responsible for bringing oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in your body.
Once this blood has delivered the nutrients, it needs to return to the heart to be re-oxygenated in the lungs and then cycles thorough the heart again. This return of the blood to the heart is referred to as venous return, and as you could imagine can sometimes be challenging to get the blood all the way back up from the tips of our toes!
But not to worry, as we have a built in “second heart” in our feet!
The simple action of moving the ankle up and down, such as when we walk, activates our calf pump and it pushes the blood back up to the heart.
Impact of Venous Insufficiency
Sometimes due to medical reasons or inactivity this return of venous blood is insufficient and can cause a blood volume deficient leading to impaired cardiac output and heart issues.
This decreased cardiac output doesn’t just affect the heart itself but all parts of the body, including the feet. Swelling or edema, varicose veins, discoloration of the skin and nighttime leg cramps are just a few of the symptoms that may be experienced with venous insufficiency.
Movement Is Key!
One of the best ways to support venous return is with movement!
The action of pushing off to take a step or to go upstairs forces our calves to contract and pushes the blood back up to our heart.
Try to fit in at least 5,000 steps a day if you can for optimal foot and heart health.
If balance is slowing you down then consider the below additional ways to support healthy foot circulation.
Whole Body Vibration such as that by PowerPlate
Neuromuscular Stimulation such as that by Revitive
Textured massage such as that by the Neuro Ball
Want to learn even more about healthy foot circulation and supporting your "second heart"? Check out our video below!