Do you notice the presence of varicose veins in your body? It’s unsightly especially if it appears on a highly visible body part like your forearm or calf. Fortunately, the formation of the veins is usually not permanent. In fact, you can usually minimize the formation through exercise. Learn which exercises for varicose veins are most effective.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that appear in a twisted formation. They often appear in the lower extremities but can manifest anywhere. The veins are seldom a cause for alarm, but since it’s quite noticeable, it makes most people hyper-conscious of their appearance.
According to the Chicago Vein Institute, about 40 million Americans have or previously had varicose veins.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are largely hereditary, though there are other additional factors that elevate your risk, such as:
- Occupation – varicose veins often manifest in people whose occupation cause them to stand for long hours. This makes it harder for the veins to push blood upward to reach the heart.
- Lack of exercise – not getting enough physical stimulation in the lower body elevates your risk for varicose veins.
- Obesity – varicose veins are more prevalent among individuals with a high body mass index.
Does Exercise Help Varicose Veins?
As mentioned, lack of exercise is one of the factors in developing varicose veins. Regular exercise may diminish the appearance of veins and prevent future recurrence. The following are some effective exercises for keeping the condition under control. Most of these consist of movements that stimulate the calf muscle where varicose veins most often occur.
Walking at your normal walking pace helps stimulate lower blood circulation. This pushes blood through the veins, lowering pressure on the varicose vein area. Try to walk daily for at least 45 minutes spread throughout the day.
Bicycling is another way to stimulate lower-body muscle and get the blood flowing. You can ride a bike or use a stationary bike. Alternatively, you can do an air cycle exercise by lying down and moving your feet in a cycling motion. This also has the added benefit of stimulating your abdominal muscles.
Calf raises target the calf muscles directly. You can do this exercise with your bodyweight or add resistance by holding barbells or kettlebells. You can also make this into an isometric exercise by standing on the ball of your feet and holding the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
Ankle rotations are more of a stretch and can be done by any age group. Sit in a chair, raise your calf and rotate the ankle. Turn the ankle clockwise for a count of 10 then repeat counterclockwise. Do this exercise on both legs even if the veins only appear on one calf leg.
Leg lifts are effective because it allows gravity to do the work. Lie on your back and raise one leg until it’s at a 90-degree angle. Keep the leg straight with the knee slightly bent and hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds. Lower your leg and repeat with the other. Do this for three to four reps on each leg.
What If I Have Varicose Veins on Another Body Part?
If varicose veins appear elsewhere, then do exercises that target that body part. If it appears on your forearm, for example, then do upper-body exercises like pushups, pullups, or forearm curls with light dumbbells.
Get Medical Assistance at CT Cardio
Make an appointment with a cardiologist if you do the exercises for varicose veins and the condition still persists after several weeks. You should also seek treatment if the veins are causing pain or discomfort. This may be an indicator of something more serious. At CT Cardio, we perform vein treatment in the Acadiana area to minimize vein appearance and verify whether the condition points to a graver medical condition.