Why is the right kind of exercise for varicose veins important?
Whether or not most of us love to exercise, we continue because of the benefits it gives us – better heart health, happiness hormones and so on. Honestly, though, exercise can lose its appeal when you have to deal with tired limbs and throbbing, achy leg veins at the end of the day. You’ve probably heard people say “Oh, you’re suffering from varicose veins? You shouldn’t be exercising, that can make it worse!” Well, that’s not necessarily true. The right kinds of exercise can actually promote blood circulation in your limbs, and reduce your varicose vein symptoms. In this article, we’ll help you distinguish between the right and wrong kinds of exercise for varicose veins.
Varicose veins are caused when blood flow in your leg veins stagnates, putting pressure on the vessel walls. Exercise and varicose veins have a love-hate relationship going – each can influence the other for better or worse! Ideally, the right kind of exercise will activate the muscles in your legs and get the blood moving, but won’t put too much pressure on the veins. Read on to find out about the best exercises for varicose veins.
If you are used to a sedentary lifestyle, walking is the best way to get moving! Walking is heart friendly, and can be done anywhere, at any time. Try to walk for at least half an hour, five days a week to achieve good results.
Using a stationary bike or elliptical trainer
If walking isn’t your thing, using an exercise bike or an elliptical trainer is another great alternative. It comes with the added benefit of strengthening your calf muscles.
Targeted leg exercises
Mat exercises that focus on the legs can go a long way towards improving varicose vein symptoms. Try doing two sets of ten reps each in the beginning; As you get better, you can increase both the sets and the number of reps in each set.
Lie down on a floor mat, and tick your legs into the air, with knees bent at 90°. Swivel your legs as though you are riding an imaginary bicycle.
Calf raises and rocking
To perform calf raises, stand with your legs apart. Rise up onto your toes, until you feel a stretch in your calf. Lower your heels onto the floor. To take this one step further, rock backwards on your heels while lifting your toes off the floor. Repeat, alternating between toes and heels.
Side leg lifts
Lie on your side, with one leg stacked on the other. Slowly lift the upper leg, keeping it straight. Pause and lower it. Switch sides after a set and repeat.
Of course, before you get into any form of exercise at all, you should clear it with your vein doctor, who will tell you the exact kinds of exercises that you can do based on the extent of your condition. Your doctor will also tell you if you need to use compression stockings during your workout.
Exercises you should avoid
High impact exercises can raise blood pressure and cause your leg veins to expand. This can also happen with exercises that tend to put pressure on the abdomen, because high abdominal pressure prevents blood from flowing back to your heart, and causes blood pooling and stagnation in the leg veins. Here’s a list of exercises that you should avoid if you have varicose veins.
The intense, pounding movement associated with running can not only increase the blood pressure in your leg veins, it can also contribute to early wear and tear of your joints. If you must run, try doing a slow jog on soft ground, such as grass. Never use a treadmill to run.
This can again increase the pressure in the abdominal area, leading to blood pooling in the lower limbs. Use the lightest weights available, and try to exhale while lifting them. Be sure to use the correct technique to ensure that you exert as little abdominal pressure as possible.
Other high intensity exercises
Squats, lunges, abdominal crunches, sit-ups, and push ups all need to be avoided as they put great pressure on the abdomen and leg veins.
But… is exercise enough? How to Treat Varicose Veins
Be aware that although exercises can help with symptoms, they aren’t going to get rid of varicose veins altogether. Varicose veins are a serious health problem, and can potentially lead to blood clots, ulcers and severe bleeding. If you have them, you need to see a vein specialist, who will decide whether your varicose vein needs to be treated. Treatment involves sealing the vein off from the rest of the body, so that it can no longer transmit blood. Our leading vein doctors in NY and NJ provide cutting edge, minimally invasive solutions to sealing off your varicose veins, and can help you avoid surgery. Some of the newer treatment options done at the varicose vein clinic include:
- Sclerotherapy: Injecting an agent into the vein that causes the vein walls to stick together and seal off.
- Laser ablation: The vein can be destroyed from within using heat generated through laser energy.
- Radiofrequency thermoablation: This is similar to laser ablation, but uses heat generated from a radiofrequency catheter instead. This is associated with even less discomfort after the procedure. most people go back to work the same day.
- Venaseal: Literally just an injection of glue into your vein, which seals it off from the rest of your body
- Clarivein: This is a state of the art, tiny device which is implanted into your vein, and causes it to seal from within.
- Varithena: An advanced form of sclerotherapy, This method involves injecting a premixed foam into your vein to seal it off.
These options may not be available everywhere. So if you’re looking for convenient solutions to varicose veins, do consult our board certified specialized varicose vein doctors. At our vein treatment clinics, treating this condition is quick, comfortable and hassle-free! Book an appointment today at one of our branches.