We often tend to exercise more in the summer months, helped by the warmer weather and the fear of baring your lower limbs in shorts or on the beach. However, if you suffer from varicose veins, there are some types of exercise that could actually make them worse.
Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about exercising with varicose veins and avoiding the potential problems it can cause.
Exercise and varicose veins
While some types of exercise can make venous disease worse, in general, exercise is pretty good for varicose veins. This is because it helps to boost blood circulation throughout the body. Varicose veins show up more in the legs due to blood flow restrictions. So, by exercising and improving blood flow, in turn it will reduce the appearance of those unsightly veins.
Regular exercise can also help to prevent the development of new varicose veins. In particular, if you focus on calf muscle exercises, you can help more blood to be pumped back to the heart. Walking and riding a bike can both be especially great at toning the calf muscles, as well as burning calories.
Of course, it’s not all about blood flow. Varicose veins can get worse if you put on weight. Being overweight places additional pressure on the legs, making it even harder for the body to pump blood back to the heart. So, exercise which focuses on weight loss can in turn help to combat varicose veins.
Which exercises should be avoided?
So, you know some of the exercises that are good for minimising varicose veins, but what about exercises you should avoid? Running is one exercise that can worsen venous disease. High-impact running will cause stress to your joints and can cause the varicose veins to swell up even more. Strength based exercises can also be a problem. So, try to avoid weight lifting and other strenuous exercises.
Even sit ups can cause varicose veins to get worse. They, and other abdominal exercises, can place pressure on the abdomen, preventing blood from flowing up to the heart. This will in turn cause the blood to start pooling in the legs, making the veins appear more distinctive.
If fitting in the right kind of exercise is difficult, there are other measures you can take that can improve vein health:
- While you’re sitting or standing up, rock your feet back and forth to activate the calf pump.
- Wear compression stockings, particularly if you’re going to spend long periods of sitting or standing, travelling or pregnant.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time.
Overall, light to moderate exercise is perfectly fine and often helpful at minimising venous disease. However, you do need to be aware that not all exercise is good exercise for varicose vein sufferers. If you’re worried about your varicose veins this summer, why not book a consultation at the Cornwall Vein Clinic to see how easy they can be treated?