The average U.S. adult sits 6.5 hours a day, which can have a cascading effect on your overall health. Not only is sedentary behavior linked to conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, but it also increases your risk of painful, unsightly varicose veins.
If you’re suffering from the pain and discomfort of bulging veins in your legs, you can help alleviate your symptoms through specific movement and exercise for varicose veins.
What is the best exercise for varicose veins?
The best thing you can do to alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins is to walk every day. Walking is one of the best ways to alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins because it does not require any specialized equipment, and it can even be done barefoot if you live close enough to a sandy beach or grassy park.
No time to walk in the mornings? No problem. Take a quick stroll around the perimeter of your building during your lunch break or walk around your block after dinner. It’s also a good idea to move your body every half hour throughout the day, especially if you have a desk job. If you’re sitting, switch to a standing position for at least 8 minutes every half hour, and then (before you sit back down), move your body for an additional two minutes to encourage blood flow.
Regularly sitting for long periods can adversely affect the circulation in your legs. When you sit, your veins must work harder to move blood to your heart. So, give your circulation a boost by moving your body throughout the day.
Additional exercises for varicose veins
Here are a few more exercises that will help alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins:
- March in place
If walking is the best exercise for varicose veins, marching in place is a close second, especially if you can’t step away from your desk. Lift your knees high and swing your arms while marching in place to get your blood moving. You can also add in light weights and do bicep curls or overhead presses to tone your arms while you march.
- Go for a run
Running is a great way to boost circulation and alleviate the appearance of varicose veins. Take a 20-minute run before work, during your lunch break, or just before heading home to soak up all of its muscle- and heart-strengthening benefits. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any moderate- to high-intensity exercise program, especially if you have any physical limitations.
- Ride your bike
Cycling is another terrific way to improve circulation and support vein health. Not only is it low impact, but it’s a great way to strengthen your leg muscles to support vein health. Don’t have a bike? No problem. Lie on your back and pedal your legs in the air for one-minute intervals with 15 seconds of rest in-between. Repeat this rotation for as long as you can and be sure to stay hydrated.
- Try toe flexes and tippy toes
Reduce the appearance and painful symptoms of varicose veins and improve circulation in your lower legs with toe flexes and tippy-toe exercises. Start with your back flat on the floor and your legs stretched out in front of you. Point your toes forward as far as you can and repeat 20 times for each leg. Next, move to a standing position and raise on to your tippy toes. Lower your heels and repeat until you become fatigued.
- Calf flexors
Like toe flexes, calf flexors can help improve circulation in your lower legs. This exercise is especially helpful for anyone who travels long distances. Put your feet flat on the floor and slowly raise your toes to stretch your calf muscle. Next, lower your toes to the floor and lift your heels as high as they will go. Repeat for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Stretch your legs
Stretching is very underrated, but a daily practice can help improve circulation, strengthen muscles, and reduce the appearance of varicose veins. Try side bends and quadricep or hip flexor stretches to increase circulation and strengthen muscles that support your veins.
Try any of these exercises once a day to reduce the appearance of unsightly varicose veins and alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. If you need additional help restoring the natural beauty of your legs, call Carolina Vein Specialists at 336-536-6522. Our vein care specialists offer safe, effective varicose vein treatments and are equipped to perform a variety of minimally invasive vein treatment options to help your legs look and feel their best.