Is Exercise Making My Varicose Veins Worse?

It is common knowledge that labor-intensive jobs which require people to stand all day can cause varicose veins. It’s also good to know that some workouts aren't great for your varicose veins. This is not to say that you should avoid exercising altogether. You just need to be aware of which exercises you should avoid if your concerned about worsening your varicose veins. 

Avoid High-Impact Workouts

Like standing for prolonged periods, high-impact exercises are also less favorable for your veins. Individuals who are predisposed to developing varicose veins should avoid high-impact workout routines. These include heavy running and jumping, especially on hard surfaces such as concrete. If you do choose to run, you should wear compression stockings that can improve blood circulation in the legs and alleviate aches and pains. You can also stick to running on soft surfaces like grass or track surfaces. A comfortable pair of sneakers are also a must.

Avoid Heavy Lifting

Apart from running, individuals prone to developing varicose veins should also avoid heavy lifting. Individuals that lift heavy weights have a tendiency to hold their breath and bear down. This is called a valsalva maneuver, which increases intra-abdominal pressure.  An increase in intra-abdominal pressure transmit down the veins of our legs.  This in turn can slowly damage small one way valves in our veins leading to varicose veins.  This eventually results in blood pooling in the veins, which causes them to enlarge. Lunges, sit-ups, squats, and yoga are some of the more leg-friendly exercises to try instead of lifting weights. 

Safe Gym Equipment

If you discover that you're prone to developing varicose veins, there’s no need for you to stop going to the gym. You just need to know which gym equipment is safe to use. Stationary bikes and elliptical machines are excellent low-impact exercise equipment. These machines can help you burn calories and improve blood circulation without putting too much stress on your legs. 

Swimming As an Alternative

If you're looking for a low-impact exercise that efficiently burns fat and tones muscles but is easy on the legs, you should try swimming. This is an excellent exercise for your legs because  they are placed in a horizontal position as you swim. Being in the water can give your legs a much-needed break from impact with tough surfaces. The cool water of the pool can also soothe discomfort caused by varicose veins. 

Exercise is always good for your health and does not always lead to the development of varicose veins, as long as you choose activities that are not too strenuous. However, keep in mind that treatment of varicose veins entails professional help. Consult a doctor with years of experience treating varicose veins like Dr. Vinay Madan of the Center for Varicose Veins. Dr. Madan is board-certified and has more than two decades of experience in the treatment of vein disease. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Madan today and find a lasting solution to address your varicose veins.

Author
Dr. Vinay Madan, MD, DABVLM Dr. Vinay Madan, MD, DABVLM Dr. Vinay Madan is a board certified Interventional Radiologist and Phlebologist with over 25 years of experience in treating vein disease. Dr. Madan has served as the Chairman of Radiology and Section Head of Vascular Interventional Radiology at Eastern Connecticut Health Network. Dr. Madan brings a wealth of knowledge which allows him to treat patients with cosmetic and medical vein disease in a caring and compassionate way.

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