Exercises for Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can be painful and embarrassing. Sometimes, this condition is a result of your genetics, but often there are things you can do to prevent varicose veins or to ease the symptoms.
One of the best things you can do is to exercise! Here are two reasons why:
1. More Weight=More Pressure on Legs
Common sense tells us that the heavier something is, the more work is involved in moving it. This is true of our bodies as well. The more weight your legs have to support, the harder they work, and this includes the veins. Maintaining your ideal weight has many health benefits, including helping your legs not strain and your veins to have an easier time moving the blood; and if the blood is moving, it’s not pooling and creating varicose veins.
2. Standing or Sitting for Long Periods Contributes to Varicose Veins
Standing or sitting for long periods of time put a strain on veins too. Veins like the horizontal position best, since they don’t have to work against gravity. As soon as we are sitting or standing, the veins have to work to get the blood back to the heart. That’s why there are valves in the veins to stop the blood from flowing backwards. The veins also use the movement of the leg muscles to move the blood along. But legs muscles don’t move much when we are sitting or standing. So the blood can pool in our legs more easily. Exercise combats this.
There are other reasons that exercise is important, of course, but with varicose veins in mind, these two are enough. So what exercises should you do?
Low- to Medium-Impact Exercises
Walking or bicycling are both excellent ways to move your leg muscles. But avoid high-impact exercises like running or mountain biking, which increase the blood pressure in the legs, exacerbating the problem. Swimming and weight training are also good low-impact choices.
Stretches and Little Exercises During the Day
You can’t be out walking or swimming all day–things like jobs and school and families need you.(Not to mention, it might get boring!) But even as you take care of daily life, give yourself a few minutes to take care of your legs too. If you are sitting or standing for long periods, move your ankles and flex your calves for a few minutes several times a day.
This will encourage blood flow and prevent pooling. If you’re standing, get on your tip-toes for a few seconds, doing so about 20 each session. If you’re sitting, remember to change positions and to not cross your legs; this again will help with blood flow.
Lay on Your Back and Lift Your Legs
This might not seem like exercise, but it helps! Remember how your veins normally have to fight against gravity to get your blood back to your heart? Not if your heart is lower than your legs! And after a while, you’ll know why this is exercise–your legs will feel it. While you’re on your back, you can also do leg lifts and rotate your ankles again. Pedaling in the air also helps.
If you are worried about varicose veins and treatment, visit a doctor. In Utah, vein treatment is easy at the Davis Vein Center. You can have your questions answered, schedule a treatment and have personalized care from professionals.