Working from home has many advantages, but it can also mean fewer opportunities to stay active.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers switched from their business office to a home office. No longer forced to make a long daily commute, employees discovered more free time during the day to be more productive in their jobs. Some achieved a better work-life balance. Unfortunately, for others, that also means becoming less physically active as they sit for long hours at their home desks, kitchen tables, or couches. Inactivity is especially harmful for people with varicose veins.
Studies have found a link between sitting for long hours and chronic conditions such as vein disease, heart disease, and orthopedic issues. Exercise can counteract the negative effects of inactivity, as it is essential for proper circulation. Don’t let remote work make you less active. As you work from home, try these seven tips to maintain healthy veins:
Seven At-Home Tips to Maintain Vein Health
Unfortunately, exercise alone won’t prevent varicose veins. If you are genetically predisposed to varicose veins, you may develop bulging veins even with regular workouts. Exercise also won’t cure varicose veins, as only surgical procedures can eliminate damaged veins. However, staying active can reduce the pain, swelling, cramping and other uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins, and prevent varicose veins from worsening.
Just as you schedule Zoom calls, block out a time during the day to exercise. Use the hours you would normally spend in a car, bus, or train traveling to work as your workout time. For veins, the best exercises are low-impact aerobics focusing on the legs, such as walking or biking. Those exercises put less stress on the veins and help the calf muscles pump blood through the veins. And you only need to spare about 30 minutes a day to get the benefits of a brisk walk.
Stretching is also beneficial for veins. Before starting your workday, take 30 minutes for some yoga exercises. Need an extra nudge to get out and exercise? Adopt a dog. Your pet will keep you active during frequent walks.
Set a Timer
When you sit at your desk and stare at your computer, you can become so engrossed in your work that you don’t realize it’s been hours since you’ve moved from your chair. Prolonged inactivity allows the blood to pool in the veins. When blood is unable to circulate, varicose veins eventually develop. Set a timer for every 30 minutes as a reminder to get up and move around.
Elevate Your Legs
As you sit at your desk, prop up your legs on a footstool. This simple act will encourage blood to flow upward to the heart and not pool in the vein. At bedtime, elevate your legs on a pillow on your bed so your legs are above your heart.
At times, the temptation to snack may be overwhelming, but weight gain is a major contributing factor to varicose veins. Instead of munching on fatty, salty snacks, go for healthier fare such as fruits or vegetables.
Sneak in Exercise
Even when sitting, you can sneak in exercises like ankle rotations. While keeping your heels on the floor, lift your feet and make small circular movements with your feet. Go from clockwise to counterclockwise. This simple exercise ensures blood keeps moving through your leg veins.
Concentrate on Leg Exercises
Your veins need the calf muscles to provide an extra push in pumping blood through the veins. Sitting or standing for long hours makes it more difficult for blood to flow through the legs. Here are two exercises to try:
Bicycle Legs. Lie on the mat, raise your legs, and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Kick your right leg out while keeping your left leg bent. Switch legs, maintaining a smooth pedaling motion.
Calf Lifts. Stand up straight with legs parallel. You can steady yourself by holding onto the back of a chair. Then raise on your toes, and hold for a few seconds, and return to starting position. Repeat.
Wear Compression Stockings
Whether in an office or at home, it’s inevitable you’ll spend long hours sitting. Compression stockings gently squeeze the veins so blood flows more smoothly. They’ll provide the help that the veins need when you’re unable to exercise.
Time to Take Care of Your Veins
Remote work has many benefits, but you shouldn’t forget about your vein health in the process. If your varicose veins are extremely painful, explore treatment options with Normand Miller, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT. Dr. Miller is the lead physician at our two centers in New Hampshire. He is a board-certified vascular surgeon with extensive experience in treating vein disorders. Contact him today for an appointment.
400 Amherst Street
Nashua, NH 03063
224 Main Street
Salem, NH 03079