Indoor Exercises That Can Help Your Varicose Veins
When temperatures drop, you may be tempted to skip daily workouts if you have varicose veins. But instead, try these at-home exercises that are easy on your veins.
Varicose veins, a problem that affects millions of Americans, develop when blood becomes clogged within leg veins. This occurs because tiny valves malfunction, failing to circulate blood and allowing blood to accumulate. This eventually results in enlarged, prominent varicose veins on the legs and feet. That’s why improving circulation can help diminish the painful symptoms of varicose veins — cramping, swelling, heaviness, and itching.
One simple way to improve circulation is exercise. Working out boosts circulation, helping prevent blood from pooling within the veins. Exercise also keeps your weight at a healthy level, which reduces the strain on veins. But with the colder months now upon us, you’ll want to tailor your exercise routine to activities you can do primarily indoors, like the ones listed here.
Indoor Exercise Good for Varicose Veins
Exercise alone won’t cure or prevent varicose veins. However, working out may reduce your discomfort and make the symptoms less noticeable. When crafting your exercise plan, stick to low-impact aerobics that are less stressful on the veins (and joints). Start by trying these five exercises you can do at home or close to home:
Walking. A brisk, 30-minute walk five times a week promotes circulation by working the calf muscles. Strong calf muscles give extra support to the veins as they pump blood back to the heart. If it’s too cold for an outdoor stroll, walk around your home.
Calf Stretches. Another great exercise for strengthening and stretching your calf muscles: stand holding onto to the back of a chair, legs parallel. Lift your body up on your toes and then lower back down. Do 15 raises, take a break, and do 15 more.
Leg Lifts. Lie on one side, with one leg on top of the other. Slowly raise one leg up, hold, and slowly bring it back down. Switch sides.
Bicycle Legs. This exercise mimics riding a bicycle. Lie on your back, bringing your knees up and bending them at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your right leg out, keeping the left leg bent. Bend your right leg back to the starting position, and do the same motion on the left side.
Thigh Raises. Your thighs also play an important role in maintaining proper blood flow, and this simple exercise engages the thigh muscles: Sit in a chair and then stand. Do between 10 to 15 repetitions in two sessions.
In addition to being easy to do indoors, none of these exercises require special equipment, though it’s recommended you wear compression socks when working out. If you have a workout apparatus at home or prefer to go to a gym, an elliptical trainer or stationary bike are good choices. When you exercise on those machines, you use your calf and leg muscles a great deal, which leads to better blood flow.
If you have varicose veins, exercises to avoid include running and weightlifting. Lifting heavy weights puts pressure on the abdominal veins and blocks circulation. Running on hard surfaces like concrete also strains the leg veins and joints. The goal is to gently encourage circulation without putting too much stress on the veins.
Keeping Veins Healthy Year-round
Don’t let the colder temperatures keep you from exercising and taking care of your vein health. At Center for Vein Restoration, our team of specialists will develop your customized treatment plan that includes medical treatments and exercises. Contact us today to learn more.