Varicose Veins: Activity Dos and Don’ts

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Varicosities or varicose veins (twisted, enlarged veins at the skin’s surface) occur when blood isn’t able to pump from the feet and lower legs up to the heart and instead begins to pool in veins and enlarge them. While exercise is generally good for you and can help reduce your risk of varicose veins, there are certain exercises that your health professional may ask you to avoid if you are at high risk for venous disease.

Activities that Help

Your doctor will most likely encourage you to participate in activities and exercises that improve your circulation and help blood make it’s way back up your legs towards your heart. Moderate activities that are low or no-impact may help you deter or even avoid venous disease. Some exercises to consider are:

  • Walking: It’s simple, inexpensive, and considered one of the best exercises for improving circulation.
  • Cycling/Stationary Bike: If you want to work your calf muscles and legs, and improve your circulation without putting strain on your joints, cycling is a great activity.
  • Dancing: Along with improving circulation, dancing is a great social activity and mood booster.
  • Swimming: Water exercise gets you off of your feet, horizontal in the water, works your leg and calf muscles, and helps the blood flow return to your heart.

Activities to Avoid

Exercises that decrease circulation out of your legs or put pressure on or aggravate your veins should be minimized or avoided and may increase the likelihood of varicose veins. Activities to avoid if you are at high risk for venous disease are:

  • Weight Lifting: Lifting heavy weights puts excessive strain on your veins. If you enjoy weight lifting consider working out with lighter weights and increasing your reps.
  • Squats: Leg squats puts pressure on your veins and can cause venous reflux (reversal of blood flow in the legs), which leads to varicose veins.
  • Sit ups and Crunches: Strenuous abdominal exercises worsen venous reflux and should be avoided.
  • High Intensity Running: If you have varicose veins or are at high risk for venous disease, high intensity runs or runs that are lengthy put added pressure on your veins and joints. If you like to run, wear compression socks for support.

If you have varicose veins, or are concerned you might be suffering from venous disease, contact us today today at Advanced Vein Therapy to learn about different treatments that are available in our office to help you with varicose veins.