Vein conditions are incredibly common; in fact, roughly 50-55% of women and 40-45% of men in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem. Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when the valves in the leg veins do not work as they should. This results in it being difficult for blood to return from the heart to the legs.
Healthy veins can move blood upwards using a series of one-way valves, working against the force of gravity. Unhealthy veins, however, allow blood to accumulate in your lower legs, which causes many problems and often pain, resulting in spider veins or varicose veins.
While many vein conditions are unavoidable or genetic, exercise is an excellent way to help stave off other vein conditions. Working out promotes blood circulation. When you contract your muscles, this movement creates pressure and squeezes against your veins to push blood upward, against gravity, toward your heart. The series of one-way valves open to allow blood to move upward. When you relax your muscles, the vales can then close to prevent blood from flowing backward.
Let’s take a look at which exercises promote healthy veins. Thankfully, you can do all of these exercises from home on your own time.
Exercises to promote healthy veins
If you have any concerns, be sure to speak with your physician before creating an exercise plan. Your doctor can also help you choose exercises for you specifically that promote healthy veins.
Walking is generally considered safe for all ages and fitness levels. Walking helps to pump the muscles throughout your legs, which helps to open and close the valves in your veins. It also helps you to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your muscles, and lose weight.
Now that the weather is warming up, bicycling is another option to promote healthy veins. This low-impact exercise helps create healthy blood flow and can protect your joints. If you don’t have an indoor or outdoor bicycle, simply try this movement while lying on your back. Raise your feet in the air, bend your knees, and pedal as if you were riding a bike. If you are more comfortable, try one leg at a time, making sure to alternate legs.
It’s important to do lunges correctly to avoid hurting your joints, especially your knees. This exercise works various muscles throughout your legs and feet, so it’s a great way to get your blood flowing. Start with your feet slightly apart and step forward and bend your knee. Line your knee up directly over your ankle and hold for a few seconds, and then switch legs. Depending on your fitness level, you can hold weights while doing this exercise.
Leg lifts can be done while lying down flat or standing, depending on preference. If you prefer to lay down, be sure to be flat on your back and lift one leg at a time, hold it in the air, before bringing it back down. Alternate legs making sure to hold each one for a few seconds. If you prefer to stand, make sure you hold onto a chair for balance. Lift your leg into the air in front of you and hold for a few seconds before alternating legs. This exercise is also a great way to stretch so you can combine it with the exercises above.
Elevate your legs
Don’t forget to keep your legs elevated when necessary. Especially if you see your feet or ankles are swollen, lay down with your legs propped up on a pillow. If you experience consistent pain, be sure to contact your doctor.
If you suffer persistent pain from varicose veins, be sure to read our blog on how to relieve some of this discomfort.