Is Walking Good for Varicose Veins?

Is Walking Good for Varicose Veins?

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As people age, there are a variety of health problems that might appear. One of the most common is called varicose veins.

If you suffer from varicose veins, there is a good chance that you are avoiding exercise. For those who might not know, varicose veins are knotted, enlarged veins that usually appear on the lower part of the body. While these veins are usually benign, they can cause some problems beyond their appearance.

Some of the most common symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Bulging veins on the ankles, lower legs, and feet
  • A dark blue appearance on the surface of the skin
  • Severe swelling and aching
  • A feeling that the legs and feet are heavy
  • Occasional itching and cramps, particularly at night

Clearly, there are some significant problems that can arise with varicose veins. The itching, achiness, and pain can make it hard for people to exercise.

The good news is that there are ways that people can exercise with varicose veins.  Specifically, we’re going to talk about why walking is good for varicose veins, with specific recommendations about how to do it in a healthy manner.

Let’s get to it…

Is Walking Is Good for Varicose Veins?

Yes, walking is good for varicose veins.  While there are multiple exercises that you can perform if you have varicose veins, one of the easiest is walking. There are countless benefits to walking regularly. These include:

  • You will have an easier time sleeping
  • Walking can improve your blood glucose levels, preventing diabetes and protecting your blood vessels
  • You will improve your balance, reducing your fall risk
  • Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel happier
  • You will improve your blood circulation
  • Your muscles and joints will get stronger, reducing your risk of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other forms of joint diseases

In addition to these generalized benefits, walking is also great for varicose veins. Specifically, walking is a low-impact workout. This means that you will not be placing any stress or pressure on your legs. Walking will strengthen your calves without placing undue stress on your veins.

The calves are in the lower part of your legs. This is one of the most common locations for varicose veins to show up. When you strengthen your calf muscles, you will improve your circulation as a whole, specifically in your legs. This means that you can improve varicose veins.

Why Exercise is Important if You Have Varicose Veins

The symptoms of varicose veins can make it hard to exercise; however, it is critical to exercise regularly even while suffering from varicose veins. While exercise is important for your cardiovascular health as a whole, it even directly treats varicose veins.

If you have varicose veins, the one thing that you don’t want to do is remain still. When you remain still in a sitting or standing position, the blood will start to pool at the bottom of your body. This is the effect of gravity. This means that blood is going to flow from the top half of your body into your legs, feet, and ankles.

The result is that your varicose veins will start to swell. This can make your varicose veins even worse. If you remain still for long periods of time, you might notice:

  • Your pain starts to get worse
  • Your veins start to get bigger
  • You have a harder time moving

Even though it is hard, you need to make every effort possible to remain active with varicose veins. In addition, if your veins start to swell more, you could end up with other forms of vein disease that could be more serious. Therefore, you need to exercise regularly even if you have varicose veins.

How to Safely Walk with Varicose Veins

If you are trying to develop a walking routine for varicose veins, there are a few steps that you should follow. These steps will help you increase the distance and speed you walk in a safe manner. Some of the most important steps for you to follow include:

  • First, it is important to stretch. This will help prevent injuries. Focus on stretching the ankles, calves, and hamstrings. You can try flexing your calf while leaning against a wall with your hands in addition to bending over and touching your toes. It is also important to make sure you have good walking shoes. Wearing the right shoes can also prevent injuries.  Here are our recommendations for women and our recommendations for men.
  • Then, start walking slowly. At first, it is important to walk for time, not for distance. Try to walk for thirty minutes continuously, without stopping. It doesn’t matter how far you walk. Simply keep walking the entire time.
  • Try to walk daily. At first, stick to flat surfaces. This will prevent stress from accumulating in your hamstrings, calves, and ankles. This will also keep injuries at bay.
  • After you have been walking daily for a week, you can start to track your distance. You can either map out the course using a GPS on the computer or you can wear a pedometer. Another added benefit of the pedometer is that it might track your heart rate.
  • To truly access the cardiovascular benefits of walking, you need to engage in cardio walking. To reach cardio walking, you need to keep your heart rate between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum. You can calculate your maximum heart rate using the formula 220 – your age in years. As an example, if you are 60 years old, your maximum heart rate is 160. To engage in cardio walking, you need to keep your heart rate between 80 and 112.

If you engage in cardio walking regularly, you may notice that your varicose veins start to shrink over time. Walking helps your circulation improve, which can fix some of the issues that lead to varicose veins.

If your varicose veins start to fade, you may notice that your aches and pains start to fade as well. This might allow you to try other exercises as well such as swimming, bike riding, and ellipticals. Everyone has to start somewhere. If you have varicose veins, start by walking.

Final Thoughts on Walking with Varicose Veins

If you have varicose veins, you are probably feeling aches and pains in your lower legs on a regular basis. You may think that this makes it hard to exercise. While the challenges of exercising with varicose veins are evident, it is still important for you to exercise regularly.

Walking is important for your cardiovascular health and it can improve your circulation, helping you manage your varicose veins. When you start walking for varicose veins, it is important for you to start slowly. Make sure that you wear the right equipment and always stretch before and after walking. Over time, your cardiovascular health will improve and your varicose veins might even fade.

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Is Walking Good for Varicose Veins?