Inactivity in the legs over a period of time is one of the primary causes of varicose veins or spider veins. Changes in physical posture and activity can help prevent symptoms such as pain and discomfort arising from varicose veins. While risk factors predispose to the development of varicose veins, complete prevention of the condition may not be possible, but regular focussed exercise can control the severity of the dysfunction. General fitness exercise can keep the body weight down to prevent the complexity of varicose veins but specific leg workouts can help pump the blood back up to the heart and reduce the amount of blood swelling the veins of the legs.
Low-impact leg workouts are best to prevent varicose veins
Managing a lifestyle with doctor/fitness trainer-approved exercise can help protect from developing varicose veins. High-intensity exercises like jogging and running are not advisable as they can increase the pressure within the veins and add to the problem. A slow start exercise regime can be gradually progressed to higher comfort levels. A careful beginning and working up to incorporate more activity, exercises can both prevent the symptoms of varicose veins and improve overall health that can delay the onset of varicose veins.
30 minutes of physical activity a day is the recommended intensity of a workout to prevent any vein disease. If a breakup of the time to 10 minutes, three times a day is more suitable to the individual, it can be planned likewise. Some of the low impact exercises that may work best for people to prevent varicose veins or spider veins include:
Walking – maintains venous pressure
Walking is one of the highly beneficial low-impact exercises, usually safe for people of all ages and fitness levels. Walking is a low-impact exercise that helps improve calf muscle pump action essential for the veins. Walking for a minimum of 30 minutes a day for five days a week is known to yield good benefits. Regular walks not only help lose weight but also maintain healthy venous pressure and strengthen the muscles of the legs.
Swimming – improves endurance
Swimming is considered to be a great low-impact cardio exercise, because it does not require the legs to bear the body weight. The buoyancy of water offered to leg movements in swimming, push the legs up and stop blood from pooling in them. New swimmers can start easy by taking 30 seconds of activity and 30 seconds of rest. Grading to more specific exercise can be achieved by focusing on kicking with a kickboard or trying out full strokes. As progress demands, one may increase swimming time or the number of laps in small intervals at the rate of not more than a 10% increase week to week.
Bicycling – healthy circulation
Bicycling is also a low-impact exercise that can increase blood circulation without any strain to the joints. Regular cycling by riding a bicycle that is either mobile or stationary can strengthen calf muscles and promote healthy blood flow in the right direction. When duration and cycling posture involve long cycling sessions bent over handlebars, it can reduce blood flow to the legs. Hence a fitness expert can advise on the right way to bicycle.
Bicycle leg exercise imitate the movement of cycling. Lying on the back and legs in the air, bending them at the knee and pedalling them slowly is like bicycling. Both legs at once, or alternate one at a time can be worked out.
Lunges – strengthens muscles
Lunges have to start with getting into proper starting position, standing with legs apart. By stepping forward slowly, bend the knee and make sure to keep the knee directly above the ankle. Hold at that position, then slowly straighten the leg to step back to the original position. This has to be repeated with the other leg. This way of working the leg muscles sends more blood to the heart, strengthens calf muscle action, preventing pooling of blood.
Calf Raises – pumps blood to the heart
Calf raise exercises are a simple set of leg workouts that improve blood circulation in the legs reducing the effects of poor vein health. The procedure starts from standing straight with feet at hip-width apart. With support from holding a chair or wall for balance, raising heels up off the floor to stand on the toes and then hold for few seconds before lowering the heels down strengthens calf muscles. This exercise has to be repeated a few times.
This calf raise exercise can be progressed to positioning on a staircase, with hands resting against a wall or a sturdy object such as the rail for balance. With heels hanging off the back edge of the stair, heels have to be raised a few inches above the edge of the step to be on tiptoes. When holding the position for a moment, and then lowering heels below the platform, calf muscles can be felt stretched. Three sets of such 10-15 repetitions has to be build up slowly and gradually to that level of performance.
Leg Lifts – drains venous blood
Leg lifts have to be done regularly for beneficial effects. This exercise can help stretch leg muscles and increase flexibility. Leg lifts have to be started while sitting or lying on the back, with feet straight out. Lifting one leg up at a time, holding it in the air then slowly lowering it down and repeating with the other leg is one complete movement. This has to be repeated a few sets and progressed to more sets for intense workouts. A tougher version of the leg lifts would be the standing position where with the support of a chair, alternate legs are lifted up, held for few seconds, and lowered.
Rocking feet – stretches calf muscles
Stretching out the feet muscles also helps improve blood circulation in the legs. This exercise is particularly good for the calf flexors. While standing with support or while sitting, rest the body weight on the ball of the feet for a few seconds, then lower the heel. Next, rest the weight entirely on the heel by lifting off the ball of the feet from the floor. This alternate movement, stretches the leg muscles and aids better circulation.