One of the most common vein issues — varicose veins — affects up to 35% of people in the United States. While many of these veins pose only cosmetic concerns, they may also be indicating a problem with the circulation in your lower legs, namely chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
If you want to improve the circulation in your legs and avoid future problems with varicose veins, targeted exercises can help greatly. To get you started, Dr. Farhad Aduli and the team here at Louisiana Heart and Vascular present a few tips for exercising when you have vein issues.
The veins in your legs are responsible for ferrying blood back up to your heart and lungs for oxygen. Since they have a harder task than other veins in your body — they’re fighting both distance and gravity — these veins feature one-way valves that shut off as blood passes through, preventing it from spilling backward.
When you develop CVI, it’s usually because some of these valves have weakened, which allows blood to pool and varicose veins to form.
What many people may not know is that the veins in your lower legs also rely on surrounding muscles to help push the blood upward. This means that any steps you take toward strengthening the muscles in your lower legs can help improve vein function.
Some great exercises for getting started are:
Each of these exercises will strengthen your calf muscles as well as the other muscles that support your veins.
As important as it is to strengthen the muscles in your legs, it’s also highly beneficial to promote better circulation. Any aerobic activity that gets your blood flowing from head to toe not only supports the veins in your legs, but it supports your entire cardiovascular system.
We suggest getting out for a walk or a run for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. Any aerobic exercise that you get above these recommendations is better still.
While we’ve mentioned walking and running, swimming and cycling are also great aerobic activities that can get your blood flowing while also strengthening your legs.
Another great way to promote better vascular health in your legs is to stretch. Some great leg stretches include:
If you want to really give your body a good stretch, we recommend taking a yoga class once or twice a week.
We want to underscore an important point: Varicose veins that have already developed will not go away on their own, no matter how much you exercise. Luckily, we can eliminate these veins and help you start with a clean slate. Once we eliminate these veins, you can embark on the exercises and stretches we mentioned above to prevent them from returning.
To learn more about exercises that promote vascular health, book an appointment online or over the phone with Louisiana Heart and Vascular today. We’re located in Covington and Franklinton, Louisiana, and we also serve patients from Mandeville, Hammond, and Slidell.