Home > Exercise and Varicose Veins: The Dos and Don’ts
Updated on Dec 15, 2021 by Dr. Jonathan Arad (Vein Doctor) of Vein Care Center
If you suffer from varicose veins, exercise is the doctor’s recommended way of keeping them healthy and managing the venous disorder. Varicose veins are common, and whether it is just one vein or two or a full network, you can make efforts to relieve the pain and other symptoms with suitable exercises to enjoy a better level of comfort. Even if you are at high risk for vein disease, you can maintain healthy veins for life with appropriate physical activity. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Jonathan Arad to know more about exercises that may work well for your veins and help to strengthen them.
Managing varicose veins the right way can make a big difference to your vein health and overall wellbeing. Understanding what can help and how to do it right is very important for handling your condition and avoiding further complications. You can prevent your varicose veins from worsening and keep the pain from disturbing your life with the suitable workout recommended by the vein specialist.
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, and bumpy veins that occur in the legs and feet. They often appear as blue, purplish, or reddish-colored bulges near the skin surface. They have often been considered a cosmetic issue, but they may result from damaged vein valves that fail to circulate blood back to the heart efficiently.
When the veins cannot pump the blood from the feet and lower legs up to the heart, it begins to pool in the veins. It enlarges the veins, resulting in other symptoms like pain, heaviness, swelling, and throbbing in the legs.
Vein experts recommend low-impact exercises that get the blood moving the right way and support the circulation system. Focusing on smaller periods of activity regularly, and building up from there, is the key to managing your varicose vein conditions.
Not knowing what to do and what can worsen the symptoms may land you with even more problems. Knowing the do’s and don’ts will help to incorporate the right level of exercise in your life to achieve comfort.
As you exercise, the blood is pumped back to the heart from the calf muscles and veins. Strong calf muscles promote healthy blood circulation and minimize vein disease risk. Exercise can prevent and even alleviate some of the pain and swelling resulting from varicose veins, but it is necessary to consult a vein specialist to know which forms of exercise will work for your particular symptoms.
Certain exercises are better for veins than others and enhance blood movement. However, strenuous activity can be harmful to weaken and strained veins and must be avoided to prevent further deterioration or some medical emergency.
Walking is the best exercise for varicose veins. It is a simple, inexpensive, and low-impact activity that helps to stretch and strengthen the legs. It also enhances the circulation of blood. The good thing about walking is that you can do it any time of the day when you want.
Start by walking 30 minutes, at least 5 times a day, to improve the flow of blood and overall health.
Stationary bike and elliptical
If you want to strengthen your calf muscles and legs and improve circulation without stressing your bones and joints, riding a stationary bike or using the elliptical is a good option. You will not have to fear getting tired or brushing your bulging or twisted veins against any sharp object as you exercise indoors.
Swimming is a great exercise for people suffering from varicose veins. Water exercise gives you a chance to get off your feet and stay horizontal, offering relief from pressure in the veins. Swimming helps to build stronger leg and calf muscles and makes it easy for the blood to return to the heart.
Dancing is not only a good exercise but also helps to alleviate your mood. You can dance with friends or family and enjoy a good workout that keeps the varicose veins in check.
High intensity running
If you suffer from venous disease or are at high risk of venous disease, stay away from high-intensity running. Running at a fast speed can add pressure to the already stressed veins and joins and aggravate the swelling of your varicose veins.
Intense running for long periods can also lead to rupture of varicose veins, and it should be staunchly avoided.
Lifting heavy weights puts excessive strain on the veins. If you enjoy weight lifting, switch to lighter weights and increase your reps to prevent any complications. Try to keep your legs at the same level or higher than the heart to keep up the blood flow. Also, avoid holding your breath while lifting weights.
Squatting puts excessive pressure on the veins and leads to venous reflux that causes varicose veins.
Sit-ups and crunches
Vigorous abdominal exercises worsen venous reflux and should be avoided as they can lead to vein rupture or intense swelling and pain in the long run.
Don’t exercise after having any surgery or treatment for varicose veins without talking to your doctor first, as a vigorous workout can affect vein health and lead to further damage.
Do not strain yourself as it may increase the risk of vein complications and do more harm than good.
Exercise is the best way to prevent venous diseases and treat chronic venous insufficiency. It helps maintain healthy and strong legs and veins for life, but only the correct exercise can deliver desired results. Consult an experienced vein doctor to know more about the do’s and don’ts to enjoy long-term relief from painful symptoms with exercise.
If you are concerned about your vein health, do not waste time in seeking medical advice. Dr. Jonathan Arad at the Vein Care Center will come up with the most positive solutions for varicose veins to have you back on your feet in no time, fit, and ready to take on the world.Dr. Jonathan Arad has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.