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The Do's and Don'ts of Exercising with Varicose Veins January 17, 2019

North Bethesda, North Bethesda
The Do's and Don'ts of Exercising with Varicose Veins, North Bethesda, Maryland

I am happy to bring you a guest article today from Jess Walter, a health and nutrition freelance writer.


* Fitness for Health does not endorse any products or services that may be offered.


At least 20 to 25 million Americans have varicose veins, according to the American Society for Vascular Surgery. In fact, these statistics show that 17% of men and 33% of women of all ages have varicose veins, which means that you’re not alone if you’re one of the millions of people living with this harmless ailment. While exercise can help improve the health of your body, improve your overall circulation, and help the appearance of your varicose veins, there are certain exercises that are better than others.

Engage in Leg Exercises

Seeing as varicose veins are most likely to appear in your legs, exercises that help improve the circulation where your veins are affected are the best. Walking for 30 minutes a day is a low-impact activity that stretches and strengthens your calves while also improving your blood flow. Other low-impact activities are great for varicose veins, as the strain will be minimal and won’t risk worsening the damage or inflammation of your veins. Ideal low-impact exercises include riding a stationary bike or using the elliptical. Any exercise that works out your leg muscles without putting strain on other areas of your body will help your blood flow, and is therefore beneficial. These types of exercises will help decrease the visibility of varicose veins as your circulation is improved.

Avoid Pounding the Pavement

This traditionally refers to running and jogging, and if you’ve got varicose veins you’ll want to avoid these activities. While running and jogging are great ways to get the blood in your legs circulating, it can aggravate the swelling of these veins due to the high-impact nature of the exercises. If you do choose to run, it’s best to do so on a soft surface that can help decrease the impact on your joints and, most importantly, your veins. As far as weightlifting goes, you’ll want to avoid anything that causes increased abdominal pressure and straining, as this can lead to vein dilation and damage, thereby worsening your varicose veins.

Staying Active is Key

If you have varicose veins, simply moving and stretching your legs will help improve the circulation and get your blood flowing properly. It’s important to remember that anybody at any age can be susceptible to varicose veins due to poor circulation, so putting your feet up at the end of a long day and staying active in any way you can is crucial. This will not only help reduce the amount of stress you feel, but it will also help decrease the number of varicose veins that are visible to you and others.

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