By Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP
This week, I am going to devote my message to the seniors because the experience of “cold feet” is quite different between age groups. Younger folks will have “cold feet” when they become indecisive when they face a major life-changing milestone. You probably have heard of having “cold feet” before their wedding. Well, for us, old folks, cold feet is literally cold feet; the temperature of our feet is cold. I have this problem for years, and not have researched on the solution. I resigned to the fact that this is probably inevitable due to aging.
My senior friends, help is on the horizon! We don’t have to keep our cold feet anymore. I was viewing a Youtube health program from China and concluded it makes sense. Hence I am sharing this with you after trying it out several times. And they work!
The explanation for the cold feet is due to poor circulation. There are temperature changes and also one might feel heavier in their feet in the afternoon. For those who have poor venous return (blood flowing back from the body to the heart), the valves in the veins are not at their optimal, compromising blood flow. One of the ways to help with the increase in circulation is exercise.
Below there are 4 exercises that are fairly simple to follow:
- When you are in bed, move your toes forward and backward, 20 times at a time.
- While in bed, raise up your legs and mimic the bicycle motion, again 20 times, rest and then do it again.
- Raise up your leg, one at a time, on a chair, bed or any furniture that allows you to hold up your leg. The height is dependent on your tolerance. They call this pose the ballerina-pose. While your leg is up, you can also massage your leg muscles (only if you are steady on one leg).
- The last one is the hardest and you should modify it if you need to: stand up on your toes, and squat up and down. I cannot do it more than 10 times in one setting. Sometimes I have to hang on to my dresser to make sure I am not falling down. So do this is with caution. If you cannot squat down all the way, perhaps, mimic sitting down, on a high chair.
If the above exercises prove to be too difficult, simply raise your leg up with the support of your hands as shown below would be helpful. In this position, during our Yoga class, you can massage your back by folding both knees to your chest and rock from side to side.
Having shared with you these helping hints, I want to alert the seniors about the health of your legs. You should report to your care provider if you see swelling, color changes, or changes in sensation. These are signs that are not just simple circulation problems. The above exercises are really just for treating uncomplicated “cold feet” symptoms. Since each individual is different, I specifically could not mention how often and how many times you should do these leg exercises. The best way to tell if you respond to these treatment tips is by touching your feet: “Are they warmed up now?”
Your homework assignment from the Care Ministry this week: design your leg exercise, listen to your body.
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