As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, movement is crucial for preventing varicose veins. Movement gets the blood flowing and increases circulation, so Fibrin — a blood protein — doesn’t have the ability to compound on an injured vein that produces the dark, bulged, and sometimes painful vein. Varicose veins can bear discomfort in the form of throbbing, aches, and itching in the limbs. Because there is some discomfort, movement can be more difficult for people who suffer from them, thus an unhealthy cycle begins. The good news is, if you suffer from varicose veins, exercising is doable and the results help reduce and prevent further vein damage.
Optimal exercises for varicose veins
While any movement will only benefit your varicose veins, there are some that are better for your veins. When you exercise, blood is pumped back to the heart from the legs, so having strong leg and foot muscles will promote healthy blood circulation and prevent vein damage.
Walking – this type of movement is great for people suffering from a vein disorder. It’s a low-impact and gentle activity that increases your calf pump by stretching and strengthening it, thus increasing blood circulation. Incorporate more walking into your daily routine by doing little things that will add up. When you go to the store, park further out than you normally would, and walk the extra distance. You can also add more movement by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk to small errands you’re running. Whatever way you choose to add more walking into your routine, set a goal to walk at least 30 minutes a day, seven days a week!
- Stationary equipment – Another great way to exercise with varicose veins is using either a stationary bike or an elliptical. A row machine is amazing for a calf pump, but not all gyms carry it. The equipment is also low-impact without straining your joints and bones. Blood circulation is optimal, and they all improve blood flow through a nice calf pump.
- Jogging – this activity is excellent for circulation, but if you have bad joints, proceed with caution. If running is your thing and you don’t want to give it up, try running on grassy or sandy paths, and avoid hard concrete surfaces.
- Lifting weights – demanding movement can put strain on venous circulation, so always listen to your body as you’re lifting weights. As blood in the legs is pumped back to the heart, it flows through the vena cava located in the abdomen. When the abdominal pressure increases from heavy lifting and tension, it can impede on the blood traveling back to your heart. The pressure, as a result, increases in the legs and blood can pool, further damaging any varicose veins. If weightlifting is in your wheelhouse and you want to continue, always use proper lifting techniques. In addition to post-lifting, incorporate other aerobic activities, such as walking, jogging, or riding the stationary bike to get better blood flow. Wearing compression socks while lifting, as well as afterwards, can assist blood travel to the heart.
Activities that worsen venous blood flow
There are a couple of activities that may make your varicose veins worse, so either opt out of them or perform them in very minimal time frames combined with aerobic activity immediately after. The following activities include:
- Yoga (because of prolonged abdominal posturing and positions)
- Sit ups and crunches
Other things to incorporate for healthy veins
There are some circumstances where getting movement in for the day can be hard. You get sick, have to work overtime, or you’re flat out exhausted. Still, there are small things to help keep your veins healthy.
When you’re either sitting or standing, rock your feet back and forth from heel to toes to produce a nice calf pump. Also, try doing calf raises. Stand up and push up so that your weight is over the balls of your feet.
Wearing compression socks daily is also helpful, or if you don’t like wearing them everyday, wear them when traveling or if you’re sitting or standing for an extended period of time. Avoiding high heels is also recommended, as wearing them inhibits blood flow in in the legs.
Exercise and activity is crucial to preventing and maintaining a healthy venous reflux. Schedule a consultation with us to discuss other treatment options for varicose veins!