Are you searching for how to improve vein health? Vein disorders are extremely common across the United States. For people 45 and older, one in three has some type of vein disorder.
These alarming numbers mean millions of people are suffering from chronic venous diseases such as varicose or spider veins and leg swelling. But, despite how common vein disorders are, you don’t have to live in discomfort. There are many at-home treatments to help keep veins healthy.
An active lifestyle is the best preventative measure for vein health. Read on to learn the top five lower body stretches that you can start today to help create healthy veins!
Common Vein Disease Causes
While age is a significant factor that increases the risk of vein disease, genetics also plays a role. Since we can’t help our genetics, and we all hope to live a long life, keeping our veins healthy is a concern for everyone. Vein disease often involves faulty valves and blood clots.
Veins work against gravity, returning blood to the heart with the use of valves. The valves seal off the veins to prevent blood from going in the wrong direction. But, sometimes the valves don’t function optimally and blood starts flowing backward.
This creates pressure and stagnant blood within the vein. When you sit or stand in one position for long periods, this pressure might damage the valves further. Moving your body often relieves stagnant pressure from the valves by pumping blood.
Blood clots often form after other symptoms are already present. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a vein specialist right away:
- Unusual leg pain
- Leg swelling
- Stiffness or itchiness
- Achy legs
- Unusual skin color, bruising
Sometimes symptoms may appear worse in the morning. Movement, such as easy stretches, lessens painful symptoms like swelling or aching.
Why Lower Body Stretches Help Veins
The best stretches for helping create strong, healthy veins are ones that target the lower body. This is because the legs are where blood tends to pool and create uncomfortable vein disorders like varicose veins. Research from Harvard Medical School shows easy leg stretches improves the arteries and blood flow.
Stretching is a gentle way to stimulate the muscles. It lengthens and contracts muscles, which puts pressure on the veins to help move blood towards the heart. This reduces discomfort caused by swelling. By keeping the blood flow moving within the veins, it relieves pressure built up from aging valves or sitting for too long.
Healthy veins have good circulation and gentle stretching helps promote a strong blood flow. Here are the top five stretches you can do anywhere, with no equipment, to help improve vein health!
Leg Lifts for Healthy Veins
Leg lifts help your circulation move blood trapped in your calves and feet up towards your hips. This is a great movement for people who stand for work. Modify this stretch to suit your fitness level by laying on your back on the floor, sitting in a chair, or standing.
From the floor, lay on your back with your legs straight in front of you. Slowly lift one leg and hold it at a 45˚angle for five to ten seconds. Lower the leg back down to the floor, slowly with control. Repeat with the other leg.
On a chair, sit with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Extend one leg straight out in front of you. Hold for five to ten seconds. Lower the leg back down, slowly. Repeat with the other leg.
From standing, extend one leg 45-90˚out in front of you. Hold for five to ten seconds. Control the leg back down to the ground. Depending on your level of balance, you may need to hold a counter or wall while performing this movement.
Repeat each leg five times to get the blood flowing.
Calf Lift for Vein Health
Calf lifts also help circulate the blood in the lower leg. Depending on your balance, hold onto the back of a chair or countertop for support. Calf lifts require you to raise yourself onto your toes like you’re wearing high heels.
Lift slowly, holding the raised position for five seconds before lowering back down. Do 20 raises, rest, and repeat three times to complete this stretch.
Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexor stretch is essential for those who sit for long periods. This movement requires a bit more flexibility compared to the other lower body stretches, so if it feels awkward, keep trying. It will improve your mobility over time.
Stand straight and bend at the hip, reaching your hands to touch the floor in front of you. Walk your hands out until you are in a plank position. This means your body is in a straight line, parallel to the floor.
Bring one of your legs forward, bend the knee, and place the foot on the floor as close to your hand as your flexibility allows. You can drop your other knee to the ground if staying in the plank position is too strenuous. Hold for 5 to 30 seconds, then return your leg behind you and switch legs.
You will feel a deep stretch through the top of the leg, the hips, and the buttocks. Repeat on each leg five times.
Ankle Rotation for Vein Health
This is an easy stretch to do anywhere, wherever you are sitting. Rotating the ankles moves the blood from the feet. While sitting, lift one foot a few inches off the ground. Rotate the ankle 10 times in one direction, then repeat in the other direction.
Lower the foot and repeat on the other ankle. Do this multiple times a day.
Bodyweight Squats for Healthy Veins
Squats are a compound movement that gets the whole body involved. This exercise can be done every day for whole-body health, including helping veins stay healthy. Do this standing up, and depending on your balance, hold a door frame or wall for support.
Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Take a deep breath in, holding it while tightening your core. This supports your spine during the movement.
Bend your legs at the knee, lowering your buttocks as if you are sitting in a chair. Go as low as your body feels comfortable. Keep your feet flat on the ground with a straight back.
Press through the flat of your foot as you exhale to raise yourself back up. Do 5 to 10 squats, rest, and repeat three times to complete the movement.
Get Help With Vein Conditions
While living with vein discomfort is a common condition, it doesn’t mean there aren’t easy stretches that help relieve the symptoms. Use these lower body stretches to help improve vein health and enhance your active lifestyle.
For more advice on finding relief for vein conditions, contact the experts at the Vein Institute of Pinellas. Book your consultation today!