It might be true that nothing will prevent varicose veins if you are predisposed to them through heredity, but it is also true that you can probably delay their appearance and slow down their progression with exercise by following a few guidelines.
Along with a sensible diet and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting, exercise is the best non-medical approach to healthy legs.
The goal is to strengthen your calf muscles so that they can do the job of assisting the heart to move blood through your legs. Even as the vein valves that prevent blood from pooling in your legs breaks down, strong calf muscles will help push the blood along.
Choose from several types of exercise to minimize Varicose Veins
Walking is one of the best because as it strengthens your leg muscles, it also stretches them out. Dust off the treadmill at home or make exercise more social by inviting friends to walk with you during your lunch break. If you were following the advice of all the experts, you would walk 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. It’s OK if you can’t get out quite that much. The point is to start a program and try to build on it when you can. (Running will have the same effect, of course, but might cause your joints to ache. If you haven’t jogged in a while, make sure your doctor checks out your heart and gives approval before you start.)
Swimming is a great overall exercise that allows you to strengthen your legs as well as your arms while increasing your heart and lung capacity. Like walking, swimming is low-impact, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your knees or other joints.
Spinning, or riding a stationary bike, is also low-impact but high value. It gets the blood pumping throughout your body and builds muscle in your lower and upper legs.
Some other exercises are beneficial in many ways, but are not considered especially helpful for treating varicose veins.
Weightlifting could lead to an increase in vein pressure, in fact, as you strain your abdominal muscles. If you do lift, consider working with a coach to ensure you follow the proper technique and do as little vein damage as possible.
Exercises like sit-ups, lunges and yoga are also considered somewhat detrimental to the health of your veins. If you are addicted to your yoga class and the other benefits if promotes, consider some aerobic exercise (walking, swimming or spinning) immediately afterward to get the blood pumping again in a vein-friendly way.
Simple Exercises for Vein Treatments
Sometimes you won’t be able to find the time to exercise, or maybe you aren’t able to take on the physical stress. Don’t despair! You can still get your calf muscles pumping with some simple exercises you can do standing or sitting.
- Rock your feet back and forth on the ground from heel to toe. This stretches your calf and gently stimulates blood flow.
- While sitting, straighten a leg and rotate your foot in circles. Follow by flexing your foot up and down, and then repeat with the other foot.
- Stretch your calf while standing on a step and dropping your heel below the height of the step. Repeat several times while holding on to a railing so you don’t lose balance.
If you have questions about what exercises will help and how much you need, schedule a free consultation with one of our doctors. They will help you decide what kind of program will keep your legs as healthy as possible.