September 23, 2021
Staying fit is a very important part of improving and maintaining good health, especially for those living with varicose veins. Prolonged periods of sitting or standing can be one of the leading causes of varicose veins, so leading an active lifestyle is key to mitigating risks.
Stretching, walking, and running are just a few of the ways you can keep your blood flowing and body moving. Not sure where to start? This guide will provide tips for your journey.
Exercises for varicose veins and their benefits
Walking is a great exercise because it is both free and accessible. Short walks of around five minutes every hour can be more effective than taking longer walks at once. However, brisk 30-minute walks five times a week are also beneficial.
Running is very effective at improving mental and physical health. Light running will boost your circulation, burn body fat and build muscles leading to better blood flow and weight loss, which are great remedies for varicose veins.
Activities such as cycling and leg-specific exercises help the legs significantly. Because varicose veins can be a result of weak or damaged valves, working the muscles in those areas strengthens the veins so they can manage the flow of blood. Calf-raises, ankle rotations and leg lifts are some examples of leg-specific exercises.
Stretches, no matter how simple, increase blood circulation, enable muscles to work better, and improve performance in the other exercises as well as any other physical activity.
When you decide what exercises work best for you, make an exercise plan with your doctor that includes when and how you want to do them. During the day, five to ten minutes every half-hour is a good place to start. As you maintain consistency and notice your progress, you can gradually increase your time limit. Depending on your physical capability, you might choose to stay indoors instead of going outside. If you can go outside, you can walk around your neighbourhood or cycle in the park. Stretching on the beach or doing a light hike also provides the opportunity to experience nature while staying active.
Myths about exercising with varicose veins
A common misconception about exercising with varicose veins is that exercise can make things worse. This is not true; exercise has been shown to not only improve cases of varicose veins but to prevent them.
Exercise, when done right, should relieve your pain and discomfort. But if pain and other symptoms get worse then make sure you are not over-exerting yourself, because exercises for varicose veins should always be low-impact. High-impact exercises like weight lifting and HIIT-style workouts will place too much pressure on your legs. Such workouts exert a lot of pressure on your legs and body and if not done correctly may cause more of a negative effect. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you still continue to experience pain.
Elevating your workout
The right gear, equipment, and environment will make all the difference as you exercise. Wearing compression stockings while running helps your circulation even more, and having well-fitted shoes for any workout will give you adequate support. An elliptical machine or stationary bike are great options for exercise if you have access to them. If you choose to walk or run, try to stay on softer surfaces such as grass, dirt or a running track. Make sure to include time to stretch and rest in your exercise plan.
Enjoy staying active!
As you start to see results and observe your progress, you will enjoy your routine more and more. Consistent exercise also causes mental improvement which will fuel you to keep going. Remember that recovery takes time and be sure to celebrate your milestones. Mix things up and make it as fun as possible — work out with friends and family if you can! Lastly, remember to maintain communication with your doctor throughout the process.