What exercises help prevent blood clots?

Whether you're laid up in bed recovering from surgery or on a long flight or car ride, these exercises promote circulation and may help reduce your risk of blood clots. Perform each of these exercises for 10 to 15 seconds, in each direction when appropriate, or do each stretch 3 or 4 times per session.
  • Wrists and Ankles. Holding your legs and arms steady, draw circles in the air with your toes and fingers, rolling your wrists and ankles first in one direction and then the other to reduce stress and improve circulation.
  • Arms and Trunk. Give them a good stretch by reaching up over your head, extending your fingertips away from your body and holding.
  • Calves and Feet. If you have an opportunity to stand up, give your calves a mini workout by pushing up on your toes and holding. Then roll back on your heels, pointing your toes up toward the ceiling. This can be done while sitting, too.
  • Head and Shoulders. While standing or sitting upright, turn your head and look right, then turn your head to look left, pointing your nose toward each shoulder as much as possible without discomfort. Do not perform this stretch if you have neck problems.
  • All Muscles. Tensing and relaxing different muscle groups aids circulation and eases tension. Curling your arms toward your body will help tense your biceps, pulling your shoulders toward your ears will help tense your shoulders, flexing your feet will tense your calf muscles, and pulling your belly button toward your spine will help tense your abdominal muscles. You also can tense and release your buttocks and thigh muscles.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.