Varicose veins are strictly a cosmetic concern for many — but for others, they can be a painful condition. Home remedies, such as dietary changes and the use of compression stockings, could be helpful for those who experience pain from varicose veins. Yet a great alternative to possibly combat the symptoms of varicose veins is through exercise.
How Can Exercise Help?
Walking and standing upright can cause aching and discomfort by increasing the pressure in veins in the lower body. Along with the short-term relief exercise may provide, it helps to prevent the condition’s long-term causes from worsening. For example, an important way to prevent varicose veins is through weight management, to which exercising directly contributes.
Here are a few exercise ideas you might find helpful:
Elevation can reduce the pressure of veins in your legs. Implementing several exercises that incorporate elevation could help mitigate discomfort. Effective exercises include kneeling leg lifts, leg raises or bicycle kicks. For kneeling leg lifts, kneel on all fours in a tabletop position, raising one leg to the side in an “L” shape and lowering in repetition — doing the same for the other leg. Leg raises or bicycle kicks can be done lying on the floor, by alternately lifting and holding each leg in the air, or pedaling your legs in the air like a bicycle. Exercises like these might help improve blood circulation in the legs.
Walking, Bicycling and Dancing
While good for your cardiovascular health, light aerobic activity may also help relieve varicose vein discomfort. Engaging in low-impact exercise activities that get your body moving without putting too much pressure on your lower body could improve circulation. Take a brisk walk or go for a bike ride (either outdoors or on a stationary bicycle), or exercise the fun way by dancing.
There are several reasons a few laps in the pool have been shown to help those with varicose veins. Swimming strengthens your veins and leg muscles, ultimately improving blood flow. Since you are exercising in water instead of on a hard surface, the effects of gravity on your legs are lessened, which alleviates pressure on the veins. Treading water allows inexperienced swimmers to take it slow, as it enables you to stay stationary while still improving leg circulation.
Not only is yoga the best combination of challenging and relaxing exercise, it can be effective therapy for treating painful symptoms of varicose veins. Similar to swimming and other strengthening exercises, yoga builds stronger muscles in a controlled environment and does not have to be strenuous. Yoga is modifiable to every individual’s needs and comfort level. Inverted positions also bring blood back to the heart, such as an upward extended foot pose against the wall.
Pain and other negative symptoms that may accompany varicose veins should not have to hinder your quality of life. Use these tips and read the accompanying resource for more of the best exercises for those who have varicose veins!
Courtesy of North Shore Vascular
Author bio: Dr. John Golan is Lead Vascular Surgeon at North Shore Vascular, a vascular surgery specialty practice in Northfield, Illinois. Dr. Golan has 30 years of experience treating veins and arteries, and became the first physician in the Chicago area to provide laser treatment for varicose veins (EVLT). He is responsible for leading diagnosis and providing the best treatment for patients.