Walking Exercises for Varicose Veins

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Everyday, as we browse social media, watch the news, and scroll through dozens of “health tips”, we are often made aware of the “newest” or “most recent” health tips. Today, we’re going to revisit one that you are very familiar with, one that most of us have done since we were just about a year old – walking.

Walking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, and for your varicose veins.

Benefits of walking daily include:

  • Boost immune function
  • Strengthen bones and muscles
  • Improve blood sugar levels (glucose)
  • Improve sleep cycles
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Elevate mood
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Ease joint pain

Ready to lace up those shoes?

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your walk and maximize the overall health benefits.

  • Elongate your spine. Keep stress off your back muscles by standing up tall and keeping good posture while walking.
  • Engage your core. Get an ab workout while you’re walking and keep your body safe by engaging your core. This will help you be able to move more easily and will help keep you balanced and stable.
  • Gently swing your arms. A back-and-forth motion of swinging is what you want. Don’t swing your arms across your body or up too high.
  • Push your shoulders down and back. You can strain the muscles in your shoulders, neck, and upper back if you don’t maintain good posture and keep your shoulders from hunching up or forward.
  • Walk from heel to toe. Hit the ground with your heel first and then roll through your foot to your toe, and then push into the next step with that toe.

So, how does walking improve overall vein health?

In order to fight gravity to get the venous blood flow from the feet and legs, back to the heart; the veins use a series of one-way valves to prevent blood flow from dropping backwards toward the feet. It also uses the contraction of the muscles in your feet, calves, and thighs while you walk and move to squeeze the venous blood up and out of the legs. These contractions are such an important bodily function, which is another reason sitting (and in vein health, that includes standing) is the new smoking.

If you’re like me, you sit at a desk for work most of the day. You may also encounter days where walking is not possible due to location, weather, nonstop meetings. Not to worry!

Here are some walking exercises for your varicose veins that you can do anywhere:

Calf Raises
Building the strength of your calf muscles aids a great deal in improving your body’s blood circulation, and calf raises are a fabulous way to do that.

  1. Stand up straight, legs parallel
  2. Rise up onto your tiptoes
  3. Slowly lower back down

Do this for as many reps as you feel comfortable.

Chair Sits
This is something you can do while watching TV or hanging around the house. All you need is a chair. Also, make sure your chair does not have wheels as this can lead to falls.

  1. Sit down in the chair
  2. Stand up
  3. Repeat 10-15 times, rest and do another round

Ankle Rolls
If you’re stuck sitting for a large part of the day, don’t worry — you can still get some exercises in that will help your circulation. Here’s a great one to do at your desk.

  1. Keep your heels on the ground but lift the rest of your feet
  2. Roll your feet clockwise for 15 seconds
  3. Roll your feet counterclockwise for 15 seconds
  4. Rest and do another round

Similar to the calf raises with one extra step, this workout will also double in helping your balance.

  1. Stand up straight with your heels together, toes pointed out
  2. Rise up on your tiptoes
  3. Slowly lower back down
  4. Rock back to your heels, toes off the ground
  5. Return to start, and repeat

Toe Pull-Back
Sit in a chair to do this quick and easy exercise.

  1. Keep the heel on the floor and pull your toes back towards your body
  2. Do this 15 times, rest, and do another round

Finding the time to prioritize ourselves is one of the most difficult things to accomplish! Between, work, chores, kids, grandkids, health, and life commitments, the days can seem long and oh so short at the same time. The good thing is, only 30 minutes of consecutive physical activity, walking included, is the minimum recommendation activity time, per day.

Can’t walk for 30 minutes? Not a problem. There is no wrong way. Start with what you CAN do. Whether it be time, or physical restraints, fit in what you can, where you can. Over time, who knows, you may enjoy the results so much you work your way up to 30 minutes and beyond. No movement goes unnoticed.

Walking and varicose veins

While walking will not rid you of your varicose veins, the muscle contractions can help move the venous flow pooling in veins and temporarily relieve some of the aching you may be experiencing. Looking for a more permanent fix? Talk to a vein specialist about your veins to discuss treatment options, most of which are now covered by major insurance providers.

Schedule your consultation today

Interested in reading more about how exercise can help with your vein health? Explore our collection of exercise topics.

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Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Mark Mackumber
Dr. Mark Macumber brings his prestigious medical experience combined with his specialization in vein disease to each of his patients at Vein Clinics of America. Dr. Macumber graduated from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, NY and completed a family practice residency program at Ventura County Medical Center. He now specializes in providing patients best-in-class vein treatment through ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy and endovenous thermal and adhesive ablation.

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