Exercise to Leg Pain Due to Varicose Veins

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Elderly couple lifting weights at the gym to exercise to reduce leg vein pain.

Varicose veins are enlarged veins usually visible in the thighs and calves. As we age over time, veins can become weakened and gravity can cause blood to pool in the lower extremities. For many people this is simply a cosmetic matter of unsightly veins, but for others, this condition can cause leg vein pain including itching around the vein, burning, cramping, aches, or a heavy feeling in the legs. In extreme cases, skin ulcers can occur. (You should see your doctor if you experience any of these severe symptoms.) Certain factors can worsen this condition, like pregnancy or sitting or standing for long periods of time, but fortunately certain exercises can help to combat this type of vein disease.
When it comes to varicose veins and leg vein pain, not all exercise is created equal. There are many exercises that help the condition considerably, but some movements can actually worsen varicose veins. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you manage this condition.
Walking
Resounding do! Walking is one of the best exercises you can do for varicose veins. It gets your blood moving so it is less likely to pool in your lower extremities, and at the same time is low impact, so it doesn’t cause strain which can worsen symptoms. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week
Swimming
This is another great option. Again, the activity is low impact, but it gets your heart pumping which is good news for your veins. Additionally, the water acts as a compressor, helping to force blood back up through your circulatory system. The more your blood keeps moving, the less likely it is to accumulate in your veins causing bulging.
Cycling/Using the Elliptical Machine
These are also great options provided that you don’t set the tension too high, which could cause strain and be counterproductive. These cardiovascular exercises increase your heart rate which pumps blood throughout your body.
Running
Running is another great aerobic activity but can be very high impact. High-quality running shoes are necessary and it is best to run on a dirt trail or a track rather than on concrete sidewalks.
Weightlifting
This type of activity can be very strenuous and put a lot of strain on your veins. If weightlifting is part of your exercise regimen, you can continue incorporating it into your routine, but lighter weights for shorter periods of time are your best bet.
When exercise is not possible, as is sometimes the case for long plane or car rides, or even long days at the office, make sure to move every hour. Stand up and stretch or march in place. Compression socks can also help to keep blood from pooling in your legs. These simple dos and don’ts can help to keep your blood moving and your veins healthy!

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