One of the key factors in the development of varicose veins is a sedentary lifestyle, since inactivity slows circulation and allows blood to pool in the lower limbs. Introducing a bit more activity into your lifestyle is a great way to combat this, and it’s something we should all be thinking about regardless of age. Today I’m discussing the best exercises for preventing varicose veins.
Best Exercises for Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
In fact, a study published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) showed that Americans move far less than we did just 20 years ago.
Currently, 52% of women and 43% of men report participating in no leisure-time activities.
Add to that the fact that almost 86% of American workers are sitting at their full-time jobs, and you have a population that’s getting almost no exercise.
Instead, we’re on our digital devices, watching television, or sitting and eating — all of which contribute to obesity and heart disease, as well as varicose and spider veins.
This seems a bit obvious, but walking is critical for preventing varicose veins! Walking causes the calf muscles to contract and relax, helping to push blood up from the legs.
If you work in an office, make a special effort to walk around more – take the long route to the bathroom, visit a co-worker instead of emailing, or try to squeeze a quick 10 minute walk on your break. I try to fit in a short walk (even just two or three minutes) every hour. And where you can, always take the stairs!
If you travel by plane or train a lot, try to get up every hour or so for a quick walk down the aisle. If you drive for a living, try to stop regularly to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
These are a really easy exercise to do while sitting down, so these are great for office workers, but also people who spend a lot of time on planes or trains.
Start with your feet flat on the floor. Then gently raise your toes so that your calf muscle stretches. Then lower your toes to the floor and raise your heels. Repeat this rocking motion for a few minutes as often as you can!
Alternatively, you can stretch your legs straight out in front of you and alternate between pointing your toes forward, and the pulling them up towards the ceiling. You can do both at the same time, or alternate for a sort of paddling motion.
Have a look at some other exercises you can do from your desk for some more ways to boost circulation!
Not one you can really do while at work, but definitely one to try out in the morning or evening. Running will help to give your circulation a sudden kick, helping to pump blood up from the legs, dispel toxins and give your heart a workout. A stronger heart will help boost overall circulation during the day too!
It doesn’t have to take up your whole morning or evening – just a 20 minute jog can get things moving and improve your fitness.
If running really isn’t your thing, then you might find yoga a bit more appealing. It can help to stretch out the muscles, which is great if your legs feel stiff after a day of sitting down, and the poses can easily be adapted to different fitness levels.
Faster moving forms of yoga such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga can really get the blood moving as you flow between poses, boosting overall circulation. However, slower forms can be beneficial if they involve several poses where your legs are raised above your heart, as this helps the blood to drain from your lower legs.
Head to Yoga with Adriene’s YouTube channel for more great videos!
If you’re looking for a simple exercise to do from home, then Mountain Climbers are a good choice. Starting in a plank position, pull one knee up to your chest, then return, and do the same with the other leg.
Crank up the speed for a tougher workout. You might want to pair this with our other endurance exercises for a longer workout.
Squats are so easy that you can do them in the privacy of your cubicle or office. If you’re at home, you can do a few sets while on the phone, while cooking, or even watching television.
To do a proper squat, start with your legs shoulder-width apart.
Now, slowly lower your butt as if you are going to sit back on a chair. Keep your back straight and your head facing forward.
When you get to a seated position, slowly reverse the process until you’re standing again. If you need extra support, do it against a wall.
Even simple stretching reaps big benefits for your veins and your core strength.
Side bends build core strength which is good for posture and stabilizing the body during exercise, which in turn reduces risk of injury.
Quadriceps stretches performed on one leg have a balance component which over time can reduce risk of falling, and also build core strength.
All stretches can help increase circulation and strengthen muscles that support your veins.
Nothing could be simpler than this calf-strengthening exercise that also helps prevent legs cramps and muscle spasms in the leg as well.
To do this, stand on your tiptoes, pause, then lower your heels to the ground.
Repeat to fatigue.
And once you get going and start seeing the changes in your body, in the way your legs feel, and in your vein health, you’ll be inspired to keep going.
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