Varicose veins, large, sometimes ropey bluish or red veins that most often show up in the legs, are an unfortunate fact of life for about half of people over age 50. While some people can’t avoid varicose veins because of genetics or natural hormonal changes, regular exercise can prevent or delay their appearance, and minimize or decrease the pain they cause. Here are five ways to exercise for varicose veins in legs.
Exercise your feet
If you’re desk-bound for much of the time at work, try to keep your feet moving so blood flows up and down your legs.
• Flex or rock your feet back and forth, from the heel to the toe
• Rotate your ankles clockwise and counterclockwise
Do leg lifts, even at work!
Physical inactivity contributes to a lot of health problems. Desk jobs make this even worse. Leg lifts are an effective varicose vein exercise and easy to do anywhere, including at the office.
• Sit straight in your chair and raise one leg to point away from your body. Straighten and hold for five seconds. Lower your leg slowly and repeat with the other leg.
• Sitting straight up, cross your ankles and raise your legs until the bottom one is parallel to the floor. Do this five times, and try to hold your legs up for 10 seconds each time. Switch legs and repeat.At home, sit or lie on your back with your legs straight out. Lift one at a time and hold. Lower it slowly and switch to the other leg. Try to increase hold times from five seconds to 10, then 15, and so on.
Lunge or En Garde!
Bring out your inner d’Artagnan! Leg lunges are one of the best exercises for varicose veins in legs.
• Stand straight with feet apart
• Take a big step forward with one leg while shifting your weight forward so that the heel hits the floor first.
• Lower your body until the thigh is parallel to the floor and the shin is vertical
• Tap the opposite knee
• Press in the heel on the lunging leg
• Repeat on the other side
Don’t step too shallow or you can strain your knee. Really lunge out!
Walk as often as possible
Walk whenever there’s an opportunity. If you are so inclined, start jogging or running. During the day, be sure to:
• Take some time at lunch to walk around your worksite, inside or out
• Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator if you only need to go up one or two flights
• If you drive to work, park at the outer reaches of the parking lot
• If you take a bus, get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way
Get on a bike or elliptical
Bicycling and elliptical workouts literally get the legs pumping blood. Consider biking to work one or two days a week, if you live in an area with bike lanes, and you can freshen up at work.
Or make biking your new hobby. When the weather isn’t cooperative, a bike trainer stabilizes your bike for indoor use. Many cost under $75.00. If you can, invest in an elliptical trainer. They were designed to replicate running without straining the leg joints.
Healthy legs resist varicose vein formation and can go a long way to alleviate pain. We successfully treat varicose veins and other vascular problems. Contact us today for a consultation!