If you think you are spared from varicose veins because you keep yourself in great physical shape, think again! Varicose veins are nasty things that make your legs and arms look like a county road map and if it’s just about the looks, you can consider yourselves lucky. Very often they develop into serious conditions such as blood clots and leg ulcers.
Varicose veins are not a rare issue these days – 20-25 million Americans have varicose veins which makes problems with veins one of the most common chronic conditions in North America. Varicose veins typically develop in your legs when vein valves are not functioning properly. If the valves are damaged or the vein wall is too weak, the blood pools in your legs – all of which results in the formation of varicose veins or their enlargement.
Whether you develop varicose veins or not typically depends on a combination of various factors which increase the odds against you: family history/genetics, obesity, age, being female (hormonal changes, birth control pill), pregnancy, prolonged standing or sitting, high blood pressure, limited physical activity, etc. Some of these factors are hard to beat, how fiercely can you really fight genetics, gender or age??? Fortunately, #1 activity to prevent the formation of varicose veins as long as possible is physical exercise. So the major question is: which exercise will help and which can do more damage than good?
The most beneficial physical workout for your veins is anything that makes you move naturally:
- Stationary bike
- Stair climbing
- Light jogging
All of these strengthen the muscles in your legs so the vein valves can work correctly which will help healthy blood circulation. If you already have problems with enlarged veins, have them treated or wear compression stockings while doing these activities. Remember, even with these activities, don’t overdo it – too much of everything is as bad as too little!