Topics Covered in this Blog:
- Varicose Veins and Spider Veins and Exercise
- Beneficial Exercises for Varicose and Spider Veins
- Marching in Place
- Calf Flexors
- Toe Flexes
- Tippy Toes
- Scheduling a Consultation
A common misconception about varicose veins and spider veins is that exercise can make them worse. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Moderate physical activity can boost circulation, alleviate painful symptoms, and prevent additional vein issues. Exercise can also reduce your risk of developing dangerous health conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and venous ulcers.
While our experts recommend exercising 30 minutes a day, five times per week, you should always talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program. In addition to regular exercise, we suggest avoiding prolonged standing or sitting periods. When you’re stuck in one place at work or elsewhere, try to get up and move around at least once an hour.
Below, we discuss the best exercises for varicose veins, along with the best exercises for spider veins. If you have additional questions, such as “does exercise help varicose veins?” or “does working out help spider veins?”, we recommend consulting a vein specialist.
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, bulging veins that most commonly impact the legs, ankles, and feet. Although sometimes thought of as only a cosmetic issue, they can also cause painful and uncomfortable symptoms. Common varicose veins symptoms include leg swelling, cramping, itching, and heaviness.
Spider veins, which are smaller and closer to the surface of your skin, tend to form in a web-like pattern. They can be red, blue, or purple and develop on the legs, feet, hands, face, and other body areas.
Both varicose veins and spider veins are signs of underlying vein disease, or venous insufficiency. Vein disease occurs when tiny, one-way vein valves are placed under strain, become damaged, and begin to malfunction. Risk factors for damaged vein valves include genetics, age, obesity, pregnancy, and smoking. Inactivity can also lead to vein disease.
Participating in a regular exercise program can improve your vein health. However, if you already have varicose veins, you may need to avoid strenuous activities such as marathon running or heavy weight lifting. If you need help getting started, our leading vein specialists can provide recommendations on varicose veins and exercise, as well as spider veins and exercise.
Does exercise help varicose veins? Exercise can get your blood pumping, strengthen your leg muscles to support your veins, and keep you fit. Following, we share some of the best exercises for varicose veins and spider veins.
Walking is one of the best exercises for varicose veins because it is low-impact and is easy on the joints while helping improve circulation. It also requires no specialized equipment. Depending on your location and personal preferences, you can take a stroll around the block, go for a nature walk, head to a track, or walk on a treadmill. Walking reduces stress, may help improve heart health, and reduce body fat.
About 30 minutes of walking a day can help you improve your vein health and can be accomplished by going on short, frequent walks throughout the day.
If you work at a desk job and can’t go for a walk outside or around the office, try marching in place beside your desk. Marching in place is an excellent exercise for varicose veins as it will get your heart pumping and blood moving.
Lift your knees high and swing your arms for maximum cardiovascular benefit. If you feel you need a challenge, grab a light weight in each hand and do biceps curls or overhead presses while you march.
If you spend a lot of time at a desk or traveling on planes or public transportation, we recommend calf flexors as a beneficial exercise for spider veins and varicose veins.
To perform this exercise, simply put your feet flat on the floor, then slowly raise your toes, stretching your calf muscle. Next, lower your toes to the floor and raise your heels, repeating for 30 seconds to one minute. You may even find the rocking motion soothing or meditative.
Running or jogging is another suggested exercise for varicose veins since it helps boost circulation. It is also can be a good exercise for spider veins. Best of all, it doesn’t take long to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing. Even a 20-minute jog in the morning or at lunchtime can benefit your heart, lungs, and veins.
Remember that running is high-impact, so check with your doctor before starting, especially if you have joint problems or other physical limitations. If you already have varicose veins, talk to a vein specialist about avoiding strenuous long-distance running and how to run and how to run safely. Strenuousrunning may cause more harm than good.
Cycling is another helpful exercise for varicose veins. It is a low-impact exercise and a great way to strengthen the leg and calf muscles to help support your veins. You can take your bike for a spin around the block or ride on a stationary bike at a gym or in your own home. Alternatively, an elliptical machine is another good option for people with varicose and spider veins.
You can also reap the benefits of cycling without a bike: Try lying on your back on a towel or mat and pedal your legs in the air. Do this as long as you can in one-minute intervals interspersed with 15 seconds of rest. As with all aerobic exercises, be sure to stay hydrated.
When it comes to varicose veins and exercise, doing toe flexes is another great option. Similar to calf flexors, the toe flex is an easy exercise to do anywhere.
Start by lying on the floor with your legs stretched out to perform this exercise. Next, point your toes forward as far as possible, then back. Do this rhythmically 20 times per leg.
Tippy toes are another great way to boost your feet and legs’ circulation. As an easy exercise for varicose veins and spider veins, tippy toes can be performed right alongside your desk or pretty much anywhere. This exercise can alleviate painful leg cramps and other challenging symptoms due to vein disease.
All you need to do is stand on your tiptoes, pause, then lower your heels to the ground. Repeat until you become fatigued.
If you have varicose veins, and exercise time seems elusive, squats are a quick and convenient way to boost blood circulation. They can be done in the privacy of your cubicle or office. If you’re at home, you can do a few sets while on the phone, cooking, or watching television.
To perform a squat, start with your legs shoulder-width apart. Then, slowly lower your rear as if you are going to sit down on a chair. Keep your back straight and your head facing forward. When you reach a level similar to a seated position, slowly reverse the process until you’re standing again. If you need extra support, place your back against a wall. Consider adding some lunges to your routine to bump things up a notch.
Even simple stretching reaps big benefits for your veins. Stretching can be especially beneficial if you have a job or perform activities requiring long standing or sitting periods. Along with stretching your legs in various ways throughout the day, you may wish to do side bends, which build core strength. Good core strength can help stabilize the body during other forms of exercise, reducing the risk of injury. All stretches can help increase circulation and strengthen muscles that support your veins.
Does working out help spider veins and varicose veins? Yoga is a fantastic exercise for varicose veins and spider veins. While working out is great for your veins and overall health, it doesn’t need to be high-impact or cardio-focused to reap the benefits.
Holding yoga poses can promote relaxation, which in turn lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure often contributes to varicose and spider veins formation. Yoga also boosts circulation and strengthens muscles. We suggest getting started with a beginner’s yoga class.
We understand that it may feel intimidating to get started on a new exercise program, especially if you have varicose veins or spider veins. At USA Vein Clinics, our specialists are available to make personalized recommendations for the best exercises for varicose veins, along with the best exercises for spider veins.
We also offer a range of minimally invasive, office-based vein treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, and other venous issues. Our state-of-the-art, non-surgical treatments can help improve blood circulation, alleviate painful symptoms, and reduce dangerous health risks. Best of all, treatment can be performed in less than an hour, from start to finish. Afterward, our patients can leave immediately and return to most normal activities.
To learn more about varicose veins and exercise, as well as spider veins and exercise, just call us at 888.768.3467 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon at one of over 100 nationwide clinic locations.
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