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How To Prevent Varicose Veins: Physical Exercise, Gymnastics, Support stockings, Water and showering

Home > How To Prevent Varicose Veins: Physical Exercise, Gymnastics, Support stockings, Water and showering

    Updated on Oct 28, 2022 by Dr. Jonathan Arad (Vein Doctor) of Vein Care Center

    Is it possible to prevent varicose veins? Yes, it is. Regardless of the cause of varicose veins, you can prevent them from occurring in the first place or if they have already appeared you can prevent them from exacerbating even further.

    What you can do at work and in everyday life? If you want to prevent varicose veins at an early stage, there are some things you can do at work and in everyday life. It is particularly important that you exercise regularly and avoid being overweight. This way you ensure that the blood flows out of the veins normally without being accumulated in your legs. This is especially true if you sit or stand a lot for professional reasons.

    However, if your work requires you to sit or stand for a prolonged period of time during the day, then you should make sure to exercise enough in your free time because varicose veins often arise when physical activity is neglected.

    The general principle is: run and walk a lot, sit and stand little. For example, it would be better to climb the stairs than to use the elevator!

    Put your legs up in between or pamper yourself with a cold foot bath: this will also support your venous system and at the same time strengthen your circulation. Preventing varicose veins also means wearing loose clothing, because constricting clothes will hinder the normal blood flow and increases the risk of varicose veins.

    How to Prevent Varicose Veins

    Regular physical exercise

    If you want to prevent varicose veins, the most important thing is to do sports! Above all, the right type of physical activity can prevent varicose veins. Sports such as walking, swimming or inline skating are particularly suitable. Long walks, hiking, dancing, aerobics or jazz dancing also encourage blood circulation. During these movements, you activate your calf and foot muscles and thus support the drainage of blood in the leg veins through the so-called muscle pump.

    If possible, exercise your muscles over a longer period of time. If you want to prevent varicose veins, you do not have to achieve top performance when exercising. The important thing is regularity. You always have to reactivate the muscle pumps in order to be effective. Regular exercise will also grow your muscle mass, thus increasing the pressure on the venous circulation. Even the smallest changes have a positive effect on the fight against varicose veins.

    However, if you have an existing venous disease, please note that not all sports have a beneficial effect on varicose veins. Especially if you have to make short, quick movements during sports and then have to stand up again, such as while playing tennis or badminton.

    If the pumping action of the calf muscles suddenly stops during the breaks, the blood sinks into the previously damaged veins and expands them further. In addition, certain exercises in weight training increase the pressure in the abdomen excessively, the so-called abdominal press, which temporarily impedes the flow of blood in the veins to the heart.

    Therefore, talk to best-in-class doctor beforehand if you would like to practice sports such as tennis, badminton or strength training.

    Gymnastics for varicose veins 

    Another method that you can use to prevent varicose veins is by performing certain gymnastic exercises. If bad weather prevents a walk, for example during lunch break, you can use targeted exercises to get your blood flowing in your veins.

    You can easily learn the following exercises which are very helpful for varicose veins and even do them while at work: 

    • On-the-spot-Go 
    • Roll the feet off the heels into the toe stand and back
    • Alternate walking on the heels and the ball of the foot
    • Grab and lift light objects with your toes
    • Squat down as far as the knee joints allow, etc. 

    You can also use exercises to support your veins in the supine position, for example in the evening before sleeping, such as:

    • Alternating cycling movements with one leg
    • Repeated light pedaling movements against the foot of the bed
    • Rhythmic bending and stretching of the toes, etc. 

    Another preventive exercise against varicose veins is to put your toes against the end of your feet with your legs raised, lift your buttocks and tense for several seconds. Repeat this exercise two more times after taking a short breath.

    Support stockings

    Prevention is also important for existing varicose veins. If you already have pronounced varicose veins or severe edema, you can prevent regular varicose veins from progressing by wearing custom-made support stockings, otherwise commonly known as compression stockings.

    You will be given the support stockings by the doctor. They increase the pumping action of the calf and foot muscles. It is therefore important that you also wear the support stockings when you go for a walk and during sports. If you do not do this, you risk that your varicose veins may worsen.

    Wearing support stocking is very important for those who already have varicose vein problems while traveling as sitting for a prolonged period of time just makes the varicose veins worse and increases the risk for various complications.

    Water and showering 

    You can also prevent varicose veins or relieve the discomfort of existing varicose veins with water. Cold knee or thigh casts are particularly recommended for mild varicose veins. Also, very helpful is showering in the morning for example with cold water as it will stimulate both blood circulation in the leg and your blood circulation in general.

    You can also prevent varicose veins by walking in a pool that is filled to the knee with 15 to 20 degrees cold water. Walking on the beach is also recommended.


    How To Deal With Varicose Veins

    Varicose veins can sometimes cause no discomfort at all, while for others they can be very painful and disturbing. However, the most important thing is to prevent them from occurring in the first place by leading a healthy and active life.

    Dr. Jonathan Arad has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.