With nearly one in four people in this country experiencing some form of leg vein disorder during their lifetimes varicose and spider veins a common occurrence, the frequency and symptoms of which are often exacerbated from working in professions that require prolonged standing or sitting for hours at a time.
Not only are varicose veins unsightly, but they can also be very painful. That tired achy feeling can sap energy and keep you from going out and getting exercise. And while are genes dictate our predisposition to varicose veins the following simple exercises can help minimize the development of new varicose veins and alleviate pain from existing ones.
Walking: The simplest exercise is to walk more. Get your legs moving. Walking is a great way to encourage blood circulation in your legs. Instead of taking the elevator or escalator use the stairs. Even going for a short walk around the block before going to work is enough to vastly improve symptoms.
Pedaling: Begin lying on the floor, flat on your back. Place your hands out to your sides, if you prefer you can place them beneath your buttocks to prevent strain to the lower back. Lift your legs off the floor, and pedal them as if you were pedaling a bicycle. The more you elevate your legs, the more you will increase blood circulation. Reversely keeping your legs lower will increase resistance on your abdominals, toning your stomach. Continue this exercise until you feel the blood circulating through your legs and any existing pain has begun to abate.
Leg Lifts: Unlike leg lifts performed at the gym, which are usually designed to tone your inner or outer thighs, these leg lifts are designed to help ameliorate blood flow through the entire leg. Lie on your back, placing your hands beneath your buttocks to eliminate lower back strain. Keeping your buttocks pressed down, and your lower back against the floor, lift one leg at a time and hold in an elevated pose perpendicular to the floor. Hold this pose until you feel the blood begin to flow back up from your feet, your calves, and your thighs. Repeat the motion with your other leg. For ultimate relaxation, lie on the floor with your buttocks almost touching a wall. Rest both your legs in an elevated pose resting against the wall, and feel the circulation in your legs improve. Alternately, you can raise both legs and rotate your ankles to further improve leg circulation.
Knee bends with ankle flexon: Lie again on the floor on your back. Slowly pull one knee into your chest, holding onto your leg behind your knee (holding on top of the kneecap puts undue pressure on this delicate joint). While your leg is in this position, point and flex your foot several times. Do this slowly and forcefully – don’t let your flap foot around loosely, but rather tighten the muscles of the calves and the tendons around your ankle. Repeat with the opposite leg.