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closeup woman on stationary bikeDid you know that sitting too much can increase heart attack and stroke risk by 147 percent? Although the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, that can be difficult for those with varicose veins.

High-impact exercise can increase blood pressure in the legs, which can make physical activity uncomfortable.

Getting Started

While exercise is not a cure for varicose veins, it can help ease symptoms and prevent disease progression. Get the blood pumping, improve circulation, tone muscles and relieve discomfort with low-impact movements that put less tension on the joints. Consider the following activities.

1. Walking

Safe for people of all ages and fitness levels, walking keeps you active without putting too much pressure on the joints. Varicose veins are caused by faulty vein valves in the legs. Walking helps to keep the calf muscles active, so blood can flow more easily through the veins up to the heart.

Try going for a 30-minute walk, five times a week to help maintain a healthy weight, controlled blood pressure and strength. Studies show that walking after a meal can help your body digest food faster and more efficiently.

2. Swimming

Swimming is another great aerobic activity that does not require weight-bearing. While swimming laps, your legs are held at heart level, which can stop blood from pooling in the lower vein valves. The leg movement also helps build strong muscles and bones.

In addition to swimming strokes, you can also jog around the shallow end of the pool, which is similar to running on land without the impact on your joints.

3. Cycling

Riding a bicycle outdoors or a stationary bike inside, can increase strength in the legs. Similar to walking, a bicycle workout builds the calf muscles to promote blood flow through your body to the heart.

4. Yoga

Doing yoga can help relieve the discomfort of varicose veins, while creating a mind-body connection. Certain poses elevate your legs above the heart, improve flexibility and blood circulation. Called inversions, these poses include the headstand, shoulder stand, downward facing dog and legs-up-the-wall.

5. Stretching

Stretch regularly, especially after exercise. Stretching the deep muscles help vein valves work properly. To increase strength and blood circulation up the body, focus on relieving tension in the calves and feet.

Exercises to Avoid

Running can put too much pressure on the legs and lifting heavy weights can be too strenuous. Try easy at-home exercises that require no equipment, like leg lifts and calf raises.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity puts pressure on the leg veins, In addition to exercise, maintain a healthy diet of protein, healthy fats, fiber and remember to drink water. Avoid salt and processed foods, which can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
At the Vein Centers of Connecticut, we want you to look and feel your best. To begin the journey to improved health and wellness, contact us today!