These Exercises Are Safe and Beneficial for Varicose Veins
Exercise can be great for vein health, but certain types of exercise put too much strain on varicose veins. Here are the do’s and don’ts of exercising with varicose veins.
Low-intensity aerobic exercise is an excellent way to relieve the pain and itch of varicose veins. But not all exercise helps to relieve the symptoms of venous insufficiency. Varicose veins are sensitive, and they require minimal strain in order to avoid getting worse. Some exercises can put undue stress on varicose veins, and actually worsen your symptoms.
Exercises to avoid with varicose veins
Imagine a varicose vein as a stopped-up hose full of water. With too much twisting and kinking, the hose may become frayed or permanently damaged due to the stress on its fabric. Similarly, with intensive, high-contact exercise, varicose veins can become swollen and even more damaged than before.
If you experience varicose veins, you should take care to avoid high-intensity exercises like:
Weight lifting. Weight lifting places a significant degree of stress on your muscles and tissue, with a high chance of pressure-related injury. Varicose veins are already swollen, and weight lifting can lead to increased pressurization of your venous system. To avoid further damage to your varicose veins, it’s best to put down the dumbbells.
Running. A bit of light jogging is fine — but long-distance running can take a serious toll on your varicose veins. The exertion required to run long distances is concentrated on your legs and lower body, which are the most common location of varicose veins. Overworking your leg muscles can make varicose veins irritated and swollen.
Exercises that help with varicose veins
Just because some exercises are risky for varicose veins doesn’t mean they all are! In fact, remaining sedentary is proven to make symptoms of varicose veins even worse. Fortunately, there are plenty of low-impact aerobic and anaerobic exercises that do not place undue strain on your veins. These vein-friendly exercises include:
Walking. Going on brisk walks is an effective way to reduce the strain of sitting down all day. Walking helps to get your blood pumping, and even to reduce pain and swelling in varicose veins.
Swimming. An aerobic exercise with lots of muscle benefits, swimming doesn’t place acute stress on your joints and legs like running does. Swimming is a great way to reduce symptoms of varicose veins, and to stay fit in the process.
Bicycling. Much like walking and swimming, bicycling doesn’t involve high-impact activity on any of your muscles or joints. Biking is a healthy and comfortable alternative to walking and swimming — for those who want to live a little faster.
Leg calisthenics. At-home leg exercises, like calf raises and leg lifts, can help you to stretch and build your muscles without the intensity of weight lifting. Leg exercises are especially helpful, since they increase blood flow to the site of most venous insufficiency.
Because exercise increases vascular activity, it can be especially effective in lessening the symptoms of varicose veins. Now for the bad news: varicose veins are caused by weakened valves, and no amount of stationary bike-riding can correct venous insufficiency. At best, exercise can reduce discomfort, and prevent your veins from getting worse.
For a permanent fix to varicose veins, visit a vein specialist at Center for Vein. With locations across the Atlanta metro, we offer a variety of non-invasive procedures, like venous sclerotherapy and laser ablation, that can seal up and shrink varicose veins for good. If you’re tired of living with varicose veins, request an appointment at Center for Vein today.