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Exercise and Varicose Veins: The Dos and Don’ts

Most people associate varicose veins with being overweight, inactivity, or standing for extended period of times. Indeed, some level of physical activity can improve blood flow in your leg veins and reduce the risk of varicose veins.

Exercise and Varicose Veins: The Dos and Don'ts | Vein Specialist

However, venous diseases are hereditary and are known to affect healthy people and athletes. In fact, some kinds of exercises can increase the risk of varicose and spider veins.

Vein specialists agree that some exercises help to develop your calf muscles, promote healthy blood circulation in your legs, and reduce the risk of vein disease. Before starting your exercise routine, it is recommended that you seek professional advice about the beneficial exercises. Here are some common do’s and don’ts:

The Do’s

  • Low-impact activities that target your calf pump are best for improving blood circulation. These including walking, swimming, cycling, and elliptical for about 30 minutes a day.
  • Walking is the number one recommended activity for improving lower extremity circulation. 30 minutes a day for 5 days should be sufficient.
  • Elliptical and stationary bike riding also target the calf muscle without exerting too much pressure on your joints.
  • Jogging or running on a grassy surface or synthetic track is also good for your calf muscles while reducing the stress on your joints from the high-impact of hard surfaces.
  • Light resistance training using lower weights, high repetitions, good lifting techniques, and incorporating aerobic activities such as riding a stationary bike or walking after every workout session to help the muscles relax.

Don’ts

  • Jump roping is as bad as running on hard surfaces because it stresses your feet and joints, which may worsen varicose vein swelling.
  • Heavy resistance training or weightlifting tends to increase abdominal pressure, which in turn impedes blood flow from your lower extremities towards your heart.
  • Strenuous activities such as lunges, crunches, sit ups, and prolonged abdominal posturing. Alternatively, you can do them in combination with aerobic exercises and in short segments.

Promote Healthy Blood Flow In Your Legs

Calf exercises are important for healthy blood flow in your legs and to reduce the risk of varicose veins. If you don’t have the time to exercise, you shouldn’t wear high heels except for special occasions because they weaken the calf muscle and impede circulation.

Instead, rock your feet on the ground from heel to toe when sitting or standing to engage these muscles. Also talk to your vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles about getting you customized compression stockings to wear when sitting or standing for extended periods, like due to pregnancy or when traveling.

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