If you are a runner and have varicose veins, or even if you are at increased risk of developing them because your close relatives have had them, you probably have some questions about how running affects varicose veins. In this article we’ll answer some of those questions, and try to provide some tips on how to exercise safely if you have vein disease or are at risk of it.
First, in general, exercise is good for your veins
Unlike your arteries, which have internal muscles with which to pump blood, your veins rely on the contraction of the muscles in your legs to pump blood back to your heart. So in general, aerobic exercise is good for your veins, because it works the muscles in your legs and calves and thus improves healthy blood flow. This should be true even if you have a high vein disease risk because of genetic factors. Even if you have already developed varicose veins, regular exercise is recommended because it will improve your circulation. However, depending on the severity of your varicose veins and the vein disease that caused them, there may be some limits as to what types of exercise may be best for you.
Strenuous exercise may increase pressure on already-damaged veins
According to some of the best vein doctors in Florida, your varicose veins were in all likelihood caused by a disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which causes the tiny, one-way valves in your veins to become damaged and “leaky.” This causes venous reflux – blood flowing back into the veins instead of flowing to your heart. Because internal pressure in veins damaged by CVI may already be high, certain exercises that involve straining and lifting may increase the pressure even more, and put a strain on your circulation. Thus your Florida vein specialists may advise against lifting weights, doing leg squats, sit-ups, lunges, crunches, and other such strenuous exercises. Depending on your condition, running may also be a bad idea. Certainly any kind of competitive running like marathons should be avoided.
Minimal aerobics might be better for you if you have vein disease
Walking is the best exercise – it works the muscles in your legs and improves your circulation, while avoiding the pounding and continual impact that can occur when you run. Other forms of low-impact exercise that can be good for you include riding a bike or stationary bike or using an elliptical trainer. Wearing compression stockings while you exercise can help your circulation even more.
If your varicose veins cause you so much pain that even mild exercise or walking are not possible, remember that you can exercise while sitting down, flexing your calf muscles and rotating your ankles to maintain blood flow. Try not to cross your legs and remember to stand up to stretch often. Mild exercise like this won’t get rid of your varicose veins, but it can ease some of the uncomfortable symptoms.
If you want to get back to running and athletics, consider vein removal
Varicose veins can’t be repaired, but they can be removed. The procedures used by the best vein doctors in Palm Beach at South Palm Cardiovascular Associates are all minimally-invasive, which means that they are painless and can be performed in the comfort of our offices, without any need to go to a hospital. Once the damaged veins have been removed, they are absorbed into surrounding muscle tissue and fade away, so your legs regain their healthy appearance. More important, healthier veins then take over the job of routing blood back to your heart, so very quickly you regain the energy and the healthy circulation you need to return to running or other more strenuous exercises.
If you’re interested in learning how fast, easy, and effective vein treatment in Delray Beach, give us a call at 561-515-0080, and we can get started on your path to healthier and more attractive legs.