Varicose veins are a common vein condition that can cause symptoms like achy legs, calf swelling, itchiness, and unsightly spiderlike veins throughout the lower legs.
Although there is no direct way to avoid varicose vein formation altogether, staying on top of your health and incorporating exercise into your daily life are wonderful ways to reduce your risk of developing them, even if they run in your family.
Let’s explore the tie between vein health and exercise.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged and often twisted veins that appear on the legs and thighs. They are most common in women aged 50 and older but can affect anyone at any age.
This vein condition can form due to various factors, including:
- Standing for long periods
- Family history of varicose veins
- Poor circulation
Whether varicose vein development is in your lifestyle or genetics, exercise can help prevent them from forming or causing debilitating symptoms.
How does exercise help prevent varicose veins?
If you’re living with varicose veins or have a family history of them, regular physical exercise can help prevent the formation of or stop the spread and worsening symptoms of this vein condition over time.
Although working out cannot prevent varicose veins completely, it plays a significant role in healthy circulation. Some exercises are more effective than others in helping with varicose veins.
Here are some of the best ways to prevent varicose veins with exercise.
5 Effective Exercises to Avoid Varicose Veins
Regular cardiovascular exercise such as walking or jogging can be highly effective in preventing varicose veins. Aside from helping with the formation of varicose veins, walking also helps to strengthen bones and muscles, maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight, and improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
The best part? Walking is typically safe for all ages, body types and fitness levels and can be done virtually anywhere. Pick your favorite trail or indoor space and aim to walk or jog for 30 minutes at a time at least three times a week.
Whether traditional or stationary, riding a bike is a great low-impact way to improve your cardiovascular health, leg strength and overall circulation. Regular biking can help build up your calf muscles, allowing blood to flow more freely through them. The better the blood flow in your lower legs, the less likely you are to develop varicose veins.
Lunges are an excellent exercise for overall leg strength, as they work various muscles throughout the leg simultaneously. The stronger the muscles in the legs are, the easier it is for blood to flow through them, reducing your risk of developing varicose veins.
4. Leg Lifts
These simple yet effective leg exercises do not require any special equipment to perform and can be done anywhere. They help improve leg muscle strength, circulation, and flexibility and can be performed lying or standing.
5. Rocking Your Feet
Stretching is another important aspect of keeping your legs strong and your blood flowing throughout your lower extremities. Rocking your feet is a great stretch for your calves and feet, increasing blood flow and circulation.
To start, rest your weight on the ball of your foot and lower your heel. Next, shift your weight to the heel of your foot and land on the ball for a nice stretch. You can perform this exercise either sitting or standing. Try this a few times a week to relieve any pain or pressure in your legs and increase overall stability and flexibility.
What are other ways to prevent varicose veins from forming?
Aside from exercise, there are other effective ways to avoid varicose veins from forming. These are also great ways to alleviate symptoms of current varicose veins and stop them from getting larger and spreading.
Some of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of developing new or additional varicose veins include:
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Staying active
- Avoiding standing or sitting for long periods
- Wearing compression stockings
- Losing weight if you are classified as “overweight” or “obese”
- Elevating your legs regularly
- Wearing looser fitting clothing
It is important to note that the only way to get rid of varicose veins once you have them is through specialized medical treatment. Regular and consistent lifestyle factors can play a critical role in overall prevention and symptom reduction.
Varicose vein treatment near you
Virginia Vein Care offers a wide range of minimally invasive treatment options to care for varicose veins effectively. To learn more about varicose vein treatment or to schedule a consultation, please visit a Virginia Vein Care location near you today.