Are you wondering how to make your veins stronger? Just like a muscle, vein and arteries need strengthening too. However, unlike your legs, arms, and back muscles, you may not always see the results or lack thereof. If you experience swelling or soreness in your legs but are not sure why, the answer may lie within your expansive venous system. Your vascular system has more than 60,000 miles of veins, arteries, and blood vessels, which play a crucial role in circulation. Veins in your legs perform the vital function of returning de-oxygenated blood back to the heart — all while going against gravity.
How to Strengthen Veins and Arteries
Keeping your veins healthy and strong is essential for preventing a variety of circulation issues. The health of your veins can be affected by a number of conditions, such as a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, obesity, genetics, pregnancy, and certain occupations that require prolonged periods of sitting or standing. If you want to learn how to strengthen your veins and arteries, here are eight healthy habits you can add to your daily routine.
Good Lifestyle Habits to Strengthen Veins
Eat the rainbow
Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in vitamins K, C, and E, can contribute to the health of your vein walls and circulation, and also improve vein diameter. The brighter the fruits and vegetables, the better they are for your veins. You can strengthen veins naturally by consuming these fresh fruits and veggies, which are full of antioxidants and bioflavonoids: red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, spinach, garlic, brussel sprouts, and avocados.
Weight gain can strain the blood vessels in your lower body. Daily exercise such as walking, swimming, gentle strength training, or yoga promotes healthy blood flow and strong veins. Cardiovascular exercise also delivers oxygen and nutrients to your heart and other parts of the body. If you work a desk job and sit for extended periods of time, try taking a stroll through the park during lunch or standing up every 30 minutes to boost circulation. Staying active, especially as you age, can help strengthen veins and arteries.
Keep yourself hydrated
When your body is properly hydrated, your blood becomes thinner and flows more easily through your veins. Water also helps flush out your system. Aim for eight glasses of water every day. Be sure to drink extra water when you exercise or sweat.
Kick the smoking habit
Smoking not only damages your lungs, but your veins and arteries, as well. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can de-oxygenate and thicken the blood, causing it to flow more slowly. Nicotine also can cause the veins to harden and narrow, which increases the risk of blood clots. Quit smoking to significantly improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of major diseases.
If you have a job that requires you to stand in one place or sit down for extended periods of time, remember to get up, walk, stretch every 30 to 45 minutes throughout your day. This helps keep the blood flowing properly and reduces your risk of future venous, as well as arterial diseases. This can also lower your risk of developing deep vein thrombisis (DVT), also known as blood clots found in the lower extremities.
Manage your BP
Even if you do not consider yourself to have high blood pressure, you should always be aware of your levels and understand what your numbers mean. Blood pressure can strain vein and arterial valves causing them to weaken. Reducing your sodium intake can help strengthen your veins and arteries.
Listen to your body
We understand that the doctor’s office is not everyone’s favorite place. However, listening to your body, understanding something is wrong, and getting an expert’s opinion is a healthy habit you should adopt. Many people put off getting treatment because they think their pain is caused by aging or arthritis. Don’t ignore symptoms that could pose potential health risks in the future.
As you age, it can become more difficult to understand what is causing your discomfort or pain. That is why, talking to a vascular specialist if you’re experiencing leg pain, restlessness at night, swelling, or other symptoms, it’s important to get help before your issues persist or worsen.
How Does Exercising Strengthen Veins
You may be wondering how exercising regularly can strengthen veins and arteries. Exercise improves muscle tone in your legs, which helps to pump blood back to your heart. Retaining strong leg muscles especially in your calf, can allow blood to be circulated easily against the force of gravity. Comparatively, weak calf muscles can result in less blood being pumped back up to the heart. Low-impact cardio exercises can even help improve the elasticity of your veins as you age. Walking, swimming, bicycling, or yoga practiced daily used in conjunction with vein treatment, can reduce the appearance and alleviate symptoms of vein disease.
How to Know If Your Veins Are Healthy
Veins, which are smaller blood vessels than the arteries, carry de-oxygenated blood back to the heart. They have a one-way valve, which allows blood to flow upward. As blood travels up the legs, it is prevented from flowing backward by the valve. This helps the blood move forward by muscle contractions of the legs. When your veins are healthy, they shouldn’t be visible on the surface of your skin or cause pain.
What Happens When You Don’t Strengthen Veins or Arteries
When veins are overworked, they begin to stretch and lose their ability to function properly. This may cause blood to flow in the wrong direction and pool in the legs, further weakening the veins. Known as venous insufficiency, this medical condition can cause spider or varicose veins. Spider veins are small, thin lines on the surface of the leg that may be slightly raised. Although they may be unattractive, spider veins are usually painless.
Varicose veins are larger and deeper veins, which appear twisted or bumpy on the skin. They typically indicate an underlying condition commonly known as venous insufficiency, or vein disease. Leaving vein disease untreated increases your risk of blood clots, venous ulcers, and circulation problems if not treated early. Depending on the severity of vein disease, you may experience a variety of symptoms, such as:
- Leg pain or dull aching
- Difficulty standing for long periods of time
- Itching or burning sensation often felt on the backs of your legs
- Swelling in the legs or ankles
- Heavy or fatigue feeling in the legs
- Restlessness, especially in the evening or at night
- Slow or non-healing wound that persists
- Dry, cracked, or hardened skin on your legs that worsens
If you’re experiencing symptoms of varicose veins, at USA Vein Clinics we’re here to help. We specialize in treating a variety of vein issues with minimally invasive, outpatient procedures, including endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) and ClariVein. Our experienced vascular specialists and medical team will work with you to develop an individualized care plan. If you’re ready to improve your vein health, schedule an appointment with one of our leading vascular specialists today.