Given the many health benefits of keeping fit, it’s easy to see it as a panacea for all issues. But what does it do for vein health? Here we look at the benefits and limitations of exercise for varicose veins.
How do varicose veins develop?
There are many factors in the development of varicose veins – genetics, obesity, pregnancy and standing for long periods. Over time, the one-way valves responsible for pushing blood back up towards the heart weaken. This causes blood to pool, creating swollen, bulging veins under the skin’s surface.
How exercise helps
Targeted treatments are the only way to shrink and improve the appearance of existing varicose veins. But getting your blood pumping will help prevent future varicose veins forming. Indeed, any movement that improves circulatory health will help maintain the integrity of veins.
Safe forms of exercise for varicose veins
While all exercise is good for us, some types are more beneficial than others. For those with varicose veins, the emphasis should be on the low-impact movement of the lower limbs, in particular, the calf muscles.
Walking really is a winner when it comes to exercising with varicose veins. The low-impact, rolling movement challenges joints and muscles. Speed and varied terrain build strength and improve circulation. And being such an accessible activity, it’s easy to slot into your day.
Even gentler on the joints than walking, cycling opens up new levels of challenge to those wishing to improve cardio fitness. Building calf muscle and boosting circulation helps to maintain the integrity of vein walls.
You can’t beat a full-body workout for improving venous health. Adjustable resistance levels mean you can slowly build muscle while minimising stress on the joints or veins. Plus, exercising at home means you can fit in regular sessions around other commitments.
Other leg exercises
The beauty of the exercises below is that you can do them anywhere. Perform 15 reps of each with 30 seconds rest between each exercise. Build up to 3-4 sets per day.
Stand up straight with legs parallel
Slowly rise up onto your tiptoes
Slowly lower back down
Stand up straight with knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart
Slowly rise up onto tiptoes
Roll back down slowly and rock back onto your heels
Sitting on a chair, keeping your heels on the floor
Pull your toes back towards your body
Approach with caution
It’s tempting to experiment with high-intensity forms of exercise for improving venous health. However, some activities risk further damage.
Running and jogging offer undeniable cardiovascular benefits, but the high-impact jarring motion can exacerbate existing varicose veins. Weight lifting can increase vein pressure and put a lot of stress on the lower limbs.
How Premier Veins can help
Unfortunately, exercise alone won’t shrink or eradicate existing varicose veins. So, if you’re looking for pain-free legs that you’re proud to bare, what are the non-surgical treatment options?
Endothermal Ablation uses heat generated by laser or radiofrequency to close existing veins. According to NICE, this is the first line in varicose vein treatment.
Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy involves the use of an injectable foam to close off the vein. This can be used alongside Endothermal Ablation where required.
These walk-in-walk-out treatments are available at Premier Veins treatment centres in Birmingham, Coventry, Droitwich Spa, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield. Our venous specialists tailor your treatment to ensure lasting results with minimal recovery time. All procedures come with a 12-month satisfaction guarantee.