One of the causes of varicose veins is inactivity which may lead to poor blood circulation in your lower appendages increasing pressure in the veins. This will ultimately lead to stretching of the veins as blood pools in your legs. Other than swollen veins, this condition can be characterised by ulcers, fatigue, and itching. Exercise can help alleviate these symptoms along with the discomfort that comes with varicose veins.
Exercises for Varicose Veins
Exercise is required to maintain healthy blood circulation together with a healthy diet that includes vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.
1. Bicycling or Bicycle Exercise
Riding a bike whether a stationary one at the gym or your adventure bicycle. If riding is not your thing, try the bicycle legs exercise. Here, you need to lie on your back and raise your legs in the air. While bending your knees, move the legs in a circular motion as if you are cycling. Try alternating one leg at a time with two legs at once.
2. Foot Rocking
You can rock your feet while seated or standing. Rock the feet back and forth from your heel to the toes. You can do the exercise as many times as you can. This moderate exercise is ideal if you have a health condition that prevents you from doing more vigorous exercises.
Start your exercise by standing with your legs apart. Slowly, make a step forward while bending the knee and ensure that the knee is directly above the ankle. Hold the position before straightening your leg slowly and then step back to your initial position. Repeat the exercise with the other leg and do the exercise several times. When you are done, raise your legs on the tiptoes before lowering them down.
4. Leg Lift
Lie on your back. Press your buttocks down and rest your hands by the side. You may also choose to place them beneath your buttocks. Then, lift one leg until it forms a 90-degree angle with the floor. Hold on the position for some time until you feel the blood starting to flow up to your calves, thighs, and feet. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
If you are a little uncomfortable with the pose, lie on the floor with your back at a corner where your buttocks nearly touch the wall. Lift both legs to the elevated posture while resting against the wall. Hold on to the position until you feel the blood starting to flow in your legs. While doing any of these two exercises, you can rotate the ankles to improve the leg circulation.
Walk as much as you can; there is no simpler yet effective exercise. Get a pair of comfortable shoes and stroll around your neighbourhood. If you are constrained by time, you can take advantage of every opportunity to walk. Get off the bus a few stops from home or workplace and walk; you may take stairs rather than the lift, move from your desk and take short walks to the loo or the water dispenser.
Crunches are also strength building exercises and are an excellent abdominal exercise. Lie on the back with the feet flat on the ground, knees bent and with a hip width from each leg. Place both hands behind your head such that each thumb is next to the respective ear. Do not lace the fingers.
Put your elbows out to each side. Then lift the chin slowly and slightly such that your chin is almost touching your chest. However, do not let it touch it. Curl your body up and forward to lift off the head, neck, and shoulder blades. Hold on to the lifted position and then lower your back slightly down. Repeat the exercise several times.
7. Sit Ups
Sit-ups are also great exercises for toning your abdominal muscles in addition to enhancing blood circulation in your legs. Start by lying on your back. Then bend your knees while planting your feet on the ground. The legs should be hips apart. Place your hands at the back of the knee but do not lace the fingers together.
Exhale deeply while bringing the belly button towards the spine. Do this as you raise your torso and bend the waist and hips. Then, lift the torso to be just a few inches from the thighs. Inhale deeply and control your movement to the original position. Repeat the exercises severally. You can modify the exercise by lifting one leg off the ground when you raise your torso.
Yoga comes with several other benefits to your body including relaxation, mental clarity, and better blood circulation. Here are two yoga postures that you can try.
- Supported shoulder stand
This pose enables your body to work against gravity. Begin by lying on the back while extending your legs and placing the arms on the sides. Also, have your palms facing down. Inhale deeply and lift the legs. Curl the torso and bring the knees towards the face. Then keep lifting the torso until it makes a 90 degrees angle to the floor.
Bend your elbows and hold the hands on your lower back as your elbows stay on the ground. When comfortable, lift the thighs so that the whole leg is perpendicular to the floor. Keep the head in the same position, gazing at your chest. Hold your breath in that position for about 20 breaths. Then, slowly return to the ground.
- Boat Pose
Begin by seating with knees bent and feet on the floor. Rest your hands behind the hips. Control your breath to ensure calm and smooth breathing. While keeping the back straight, lean back slightly and lift your feet slightly. Lengthen the torso by lifting the chest. Then, straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle to the ground such that you make a ‘V’ shape. Stay in the position for a few seconds then lower your body.
The symptoms of varicose veins can be alleviated by stimulating blood flow to your legs. Do the above exercises regularly and combine different exercises from time to time. In addition to improving your blood flow, these exercises have other health benefits on your body.
If you are suffering with any of the symptoms of varicose veins, or you have been diagnosed with them, treatment may be necessary. A varicose vein treatment centre can pinpoint the type of varicose veins you have and recommend corrective treatment.
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