Got Vein Pain Walk it off

Talk to your vascular surgeon in Marietta about the benefits of walkingSummertime may be quickly coming to a close, but things won’t be cooling down for a while here in Marietta. We’re still right in the thick of short shorts and flip flop weather, which can be a trying time for those who suffer from varicose veins and spider veins.

If vein issues have kept you cooped up indoors, it isn’t too late to take action! A visit to your vascular surgeon in Marietta can help you overcome these unsightly problems, but you can also fight varicose and spider veins using your own two feet. Any exercise can be an effective tool in preventing vein problems, but few exercises will be as beneficial or easy to do as good old-fashioned walking.

The Path to Vein Health

Varicose veins form when the valves in your veins malfunction, allowing blood to flow back into the lower extremities. When pressure increases and blood begins to pool, it causes these veins to bulge, creating the painful blue and purple cordlike veins that so many Americans are familiar with.

Fortunately, all of us can improve our circulation by simply becoming a bit more active. Walking and other exercises that focus on the legs (running, cycling, swimming) help to build strength in the calves and ankles, greatly improving your circulation. By dedicating yourself to regular walking or another leg exercise, your legs will begin to pump blood back to the heart more efficiently, making those troublesome veins less painful and noticeable.

Walking is one of the most popular ways to exercise in America, and for good reason: just about anyone, anywhere at any time can do it. In a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC announced that more and more Americans are walking for exercise, and that those who walk regularly are three times more likely to meet the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise each week.

This is especially important considering our nation’s ever-increasing obesity levels, another contributing factor in varicose and spider vein prevalence. Just remember that it’s best to start slow, especially if you have circulation issues. Fifteen to 20 minute walks may be best to start, while you should always talk to your vascular surgeon before starting a new exercise routine.

To get the most out of your walk, try these two circulation-boosting stretches before you head out:

  • Calves. Stretching your calves will focus the contractions of your muscles on the back of the lower leg, helping to prevent blood pooling in this area. Start by standing with your feet on a step, bench or stair—you can hold onto something for balance if needed. Then, drop your heels below the level of the balls of your feet and slowly push upward from the balls of your feet until you feel a muscle contraction in the middle of your calf. Try standing on the balls of your feet in this way several times each day.
  • Ankles. When you get stuck sitting for several hours at your desk or on a plane, take the time to loosen up your ankles a bit. While you sit, rotate your ankles and flex and extend your toes. Flexing the toes up towards the body will help you stretch your lower calf, while pointing your toes downward will flex the ball of the calf. Tapping your toes as if in time to music will also help to foster more effective muscle contractions in the lower legs that help pump blood back to the heart.

Varicose veins are no fun for anyone, but you don’t have to suffer in silence. Try walking every day, or enough to reach your recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week, and ask your vascular surgeon about other ways to maintain healthy veins in Marietta.

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