There’s no mistaking that general malaise that envelops legs when they are kept stagnant for too long – either from sitting, standing, or lying horizontal. For varicose vein sufferers, lack of movement takes that malaise a step further, leaving legs feeling tired, achy, heavy and even painful.
Exercise helps ease all that. And it’s one of the best and simplest ways to improve circulation, ease the discomfort, and diminish the appearance of varicose veins – which is a trifecta of good news for vein sufferers.
When muscles are activated, blood gets pumping, which is a huge help in legs with vein disease where there’s backward flow and pooling happening due to a breakdown of valves and vein walls.
Here are a few exercises that incorporate breathing (yes, breathing) and elevation to improve your overall vein health and get those legs looking and feeling better straight away.
BREATHE YOUR WAY TO HAPPIER FEELING LEGS
Take a deep breathe right now. Then let it out. Take another one. Let it out
Doesn’t that feel good?
Your veins think so. Deep breathing, such as that performed during yoga exercises, produces strong chest pressure that pulls blood from your leg veins into your chest – much to the relief of your varicose veins.
BREATHE EXERCISE ONE: Point & Breathe
Lie on your back, legs outstretched on a comfortable, stable surface. Raise both legs slowly towards the ceiling while taking a slow, deep inhale. Support your back with both hands. Now exhale. Take two complete breaths and then lower legs slowly to the floor.
Repeat 3 times.
BREATHE EXERCISE 2: The 02 Chair
Place feet on a stable chair and take deep ‘belly breaths’ through your nose. Keep this up for 10 minutes. Oxygen is such a rush! Circulatory systems love it!
BREATHE EXERCISE 3: The In-n-Out
Inhale through the nose to a count of 6 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth to a count of 6 seconds. Repeat 6 times.
ELEVATE TO DEFLATE VEIN PAIN
Elevating your legs daily and post-exercise helps decrease swelling and alleviate any associated pain or discomfort. Raising legs to waist-level allows gravity to drain the blood from the veins – a sort of manual drainage. The following exercises help improve circulation to the feet and legs.
ELEVATE EXERCISE ONE: Buerger-Allen
Buerger-Allen exercises help improve circulation in the legs and feet.
Keep legs elevated to a 45- to 90-degree angle until skin blanches (blood is drained and appears dead-white). Then feet and legs are lowered below the level of the rest of the body until redness appears (care should be taken that there is no pressure against the back of the knees); finally, the legs are placed flat on the bed for a few minutes. The length of time for each position varies with the patient’s tolerance and the speed with which color change occurs. Usually the exercises are prescribed so that the legs are elevated for 2 to 3 minutes, down 5 to 10 minutes, and then flat on the bed for 10 minutes.
ELEVATE EXERCISE TWO: Extend-a-Bike
Lie down on your back and raise both legs in the air. Extend one leg upward toward the sky while bending the other, then switch the positions of your legs simultaneously. The motion is similar to riding a bike. Make sure to straighten each leg completely upward when extending.
ELEVATE EXERCISE 3: Ankle Circles
Lie on a soft surface or place a pillow beneath your hips. Raise one leg straight upward while bending the other leg. Pull the bent leg toward your chest with your arms while rotating your ankle in a circular motion – both counter- and clockwise directions. Switch directions often. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and then switch legs and repeat.
Exercise is your friend if you have varicose veins.
Exercise does wonders for the management of varicose veins. Just remember to move often, breathe, flex, and elevate each day for the most noticeable improvement and results.
Again, moderation is key – listen to your body – if your veins are barking loud after a 45-minute walk ease back to 30. Let exercise work with you to help your legs feel and look better a little more each day.
The ultimate relief comes from a minimally invasive vein treatment. Call 281-565-0033 and set up your vein ultrasound and consultation at a conveniently located Hamilton Vein Center location near you.