5 Tips to Make Sure the Answer is No
As spring time starts to bring nicer weather and wake us up out of sleepy winter, it’s a great time to hit the hike and bike trail, take a stroll around the neighborhood, or find some other way you really enjoy to get healthy movement. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent and manage spider veins—as long as you’re doing the right kind.
Here are 5 essential tips for choosing exercise that helps get your blood moving without being strenuous or damaging for your spider vein symptoms:
Understand What’s Going On in Your Body
One of the best ways to ensure that your exercise routine never puts you at risk of injuring yourself or worsening your vein health is to really understand what’s happening in your body and “listen” to the signals it sends you.
Spider veins and varicose veins are a result of blood not pumping correctly upward from the feet and legs, which is especially important during strenuous exercise. “Venous reflux” is the regression of blood back down toward the legs, when it should be pumped up to the vena cava in the abdomen, and then to the heart.
Therefore, any exercise that puts extra or extended strain or restriction on your feet, calf muscles, and/or abs is likely to further disrupt the flow of blood and cause pain and aching. Pay attention to rushing feelings, throbbing or aching in the legs and ease up on yourself right away. Try to choose activities that don’t restrict or strain these areas.
Walk, Don’t Run
In general, walking is a better bet than running or jogging for most people struggling with vein health, even if they are young. Walking is gentle but still gets your heart pumping, and stretches the calf which improves blood flow. It can be adapted to pretty much any environment, schedule or ability level.
Running, on the other hand, typically causes a much higher impact to your feet, legs, and joints, and can be so strenuous as to place further stress on backed up veins. If you’re experiencing any issues with spider or varicose veins, walking is the safest choice.
Go For Low Impact and High Circulation
The best types of exercises for nurturing and improving vein health are ones that are easy on your body and encourage circulation and blood flow in the legs without requiring too much straining effort.
Stationary equipment like an exercise bike or elliptical treadmill are great options because they allow you to adjust your intensity and get your legs pumping without putting too much pressure on them.
Other good examples are swimming at a moderate pace, mid-tempo dance, and low- to moderate-incline hikes.
Avoid Anything That Overly Strains The Abs
The vena cava, a main vein in the abdomen that carries deoxygenated blood back up to the heart, is a key player when it comes to managing healthy blood flow during exercise. If the vena cava is under pressure or strain when your legs attempt to send blood back upward, it’s much more likely to reflux and pool back down in the legs.
Examples of exercises that should be avoided include crunches and sit-ups, variations like bicycle crunches, v-sits, and leg lifts, weight-lifting, pilates, and extended yoga poses that place strain on the abdomen.
If you want to improve your core strength, opt for resistance training with light weight, bodyweight, or resistance bands.
Wear Compression Socks!
During and after any kind of exercise, wearing compression socks is a great way to help your legs. These can be found at some drug stores or online, and provide extra support through an extra-tight elastic fit that helps prevent blood from getting backed up. Many active and athletic people struggling with vein health make compression socks a part of their regular workout uniform!
Getting regular, healthy movement is a great way to take good care of your body and manage spider veins. As long as you follow these simple guidelines, you can make exercise a part of your regular self-care plan without doing any harm.
Do you have questions about spider veins or think you may be showing symptoms? Call Bunker Vein and Imaging at (512) 726-0599 and we’ll schedule you for a free consultation.