Can Exercise Help Manage Varicose Veins?

fitness woman working out on exercise bike at the gym. Varicose veins aren’t just a cosmetic problem, these ropy, bulging veins are also very uncomfortable. The reason varicose veins develop is that the valves that are supposed to close to prevent blood from backflowing grow weak. This can happen for a few different reasons. Weight is one factor but, in many cases, it is a simple matter of wear and tear on the body. As the valves continue to weaken and the vein swells, blood may continue to pool due to widening in the vein. This can feel like a never-ending problem. It doesn’t have to be. In situations where varicose veins have gotten severe, medical treatment is the best way to get rid of the swollen veins that are visible on the skin. Before and after vein treatment, though, doctors recommend managing varicose veins with proper exercise.

Proper Exercise Can Improve Comfort and Appearance

Exercise is a crucial aspect of living with varicose veins. Without consistent, daily movement, the valves in the veins only continue to grow weaker. When the goal is to stop this process of venous insufficiency, exercise can look a very particular way. Fortunately, that way includes easy, convenient, low-impact exercise. It isn’t necessary to engage in strenuous activity to get varicose veins under better control. In fact, walking is one of the best things that can be done to help move blood out of the legs. Five days out of the week, it is beneficial to aim for at least 30 minutes of consistent walking. This can be enhanced by walking more frequently during normal daily activities. For example, park farther from store entrances when shopping or at work. When walking around the house, find areas to sit and stand back up a few times. If you have access to a gym, you can promote healthy circulation with low-impact movements on a stationary bike or elliptical machine.

Exercises to Do At Home

In addition to making walking a part of your daily activity, a few standing and floor exercises can also be easily performed. 

  • Lunges. This standing exercise starts with feet about shoulder-width apart. Then step forward with one foot and bend at the knee. Slowly straighten the leg and step back into the starting position. Do 5 to 10 lunges on each leg. When doing lunges, it is important to keep the knee directly over the ankle for the leg to be in proper alignment. This exercise can be difficult for some people. If lunges are difficult for you, find a comfortable chair or sofa and slowly sit and stand several times.
  • Calf raises. This exercise can be done when standing or sitting. It may be preferable to do it standing because the calf muscles may engage more. To do a calf raise, simply lift the heels of your feet and get into a tip-toe position. Lower the heels and repeat the movement several times.
  • Bicycle legs. A floor exercise, bicycle legs involves a pedaling motion. To do this exercise, lie on your back, lift your legs, and bend your knees. Then, pump your feet in a circular motion away from your body to mimic the motion of riding a bike.
  • Leg lifts. Lying on your back with straight legs, lift one leg a few inches off the floor and hold for a few seconds. Repeat on the opposite leg. Do 12 to 15 lifts with each leg.

A final form of exercise that can be very good for the management and prevention of varicose veins is yoga. Many of the poses that are commonly performed in yoga engage the ankle and calf muscles. Yoga poses that elevate the legs are also supportive of vein health because they take the stress off of the veins for a short time and help blood move more efficiently out of the legs.

The Vascular Institute of Virginia offers friendly care in a comfortable environment. Contact us today at 703-763-5224 to schedule your vein treatment consultation at our Fredericksburg, Fairfax, or Woodbridge location.

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