One of the key factors in the development of varicose veins is a sedentary lifestyle, since inactivity slows circulation and allows blood to pool in the lower limbs. Introducing a bit more activity into your lifestyle is a great way to combat this, and it’s something we should all be thinking about regardless of age. Today I’m discussing the best exercises for preventing varicose veins.
Louise Baillie S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3 @ActiveLouise Ask Louise
17 July 2017
How do you prevent varicose veins?
We all know the famous saying ‘prevention is better than a cure’, and in the case of varicose veins this is definitely true! The best thing you can do to prevent varicose veins is to promote healthy circulation by staying active. Sounds easy, right? Well for many people this is actually quite difficult!
Many people these days live fairly sedentary lifestyles thanks to office jobs. Between the commute to work, sitting down all day, the commute home, a quick dinner and then collapsing on the sofa after an exhausting day, many people struggle to fit any exercise into their day!
This seems a bit obvious, but walking is critical for preventing varicose veins! Walking causes the calf muscles to contract and relax, helping to push blood up from the legs.
If you work in an office, make a special effort to walk around more – take the long route to the bathroom, visit a co-worker instead of emailing, or try to squeeze a quick 10 minute walk on your break. I try to fit in a short walk (even just two or three minutes) every hour. And where you can, always take the stairs!
If you travel by plane or train a lot, try to get up every hour or so for a quick walk down the aisle. If you drive for a living, try to stop regularly to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
These are a really easy exercise to do while sitting down, so these are great for office workers, but also people who spend a lot of time on planes or trains.
Start with your feet flat on the floor. Then gently raise your toes so that your calf muscle stretches. Then lower your toes to the floor and raise your heels. Repeat this rocking motion for a few minutes as often as you can!
Alternatively, you can stretch your legs straight out in front of you and alternate between pointing your toes forward, and the pulling them up towards the ceiling. You can do both at the same time, or alternate for a sort of paddling motion.
Not one you can really do while at work, but definitely one to try out in the morning or evening. Running will help to give your circulation a sudden kick, helping to pump blood up from the legs, dispel toxins and give your heart a workout. A stronger heart will help boost overall circulation during the day too!
It doesn’t have to take up your whole morning or evening – just a 20 minute jog can get things moving and improve your fitness.
If running really isn’t your thing, then you might find yoga a bit more appealing. It can help to stretch out the muscles, which is great if your legs feel stiff after a day of sitting down, and the poses can easily be adapted to different fitness levels.
Faster moving forms of yoga such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga can really get the blood moving as you flow between poses, boosting overall circulation. However, slower forms can be beneficial if they involve several poses where your legs are raised above your heart, as this helps the blood to drain from your lower legs.
If you’re looking for a simple exercise to do from home, then Mountain Climbers are a good choice. Starting in a plank position, pull one knee up to your chest, then return, and do the same with the other leg.
Crank up the speed for a tougher workout. You might want to pair this with our other endurance exercises for a longer workout.
Natural treatments for varicose veins
If you’ve already got varicose veins and don’t want them to get any worse, then incorporating these exercises into your daily life will really benefit you!
In addition, you may want to consider gaining some extra support from a herbal remedy such as Venaforce. This remedy contains horse chestnut seeds (or conkers here), which can help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins, such as heavy, tired legs, leg cramp, and swelling.
You can also use our horse chestnut gel, Venagel to cool and soothe achy legs. This is fantastic after a long day at work or travelling, and can even be used during pregnancy!