Say Goodbye To Varicose Veins
Spring is here and summer is just around the corner; the sun and nice weather tend to inspire us to get out of that winter rut, go outside, exercise and get back in shape for the summer. We all know that if we want to be ready for summer picnics and time on the beach, we need to eat healthy and exercise. Unfortunately, some of us have more to think about than just those few extra pounds we put on over the winter.
Approximately 20% of the Canadian adult population are affected by varicose veins and women are three times more likely to get them than men. There are several factors that can cause varicose veins, including heredity, obesity, menopause, aging, prolonged sitting or standing, leg injury or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). By definition, varicose veins are dilated and bulging veins often due to structural failures in the one-way valves that line the veins. These structural failures prevent the blood from being pumped back to the heart and cause the veins to swell and protrude.
Thankfully, just because you have them, doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them. So how do we treat varicose veins? One of the most effective ways is by exercising. Various types of low-impact exercise, such as walking, cycling or swimming, have been proven fairly effective in reducing the appearance of varicose veins. These forms of exercise increase circulation in the legs, ensuring that the blood doesn’t get trapped in one area for extended periods of time. Whenever you do any form of exercise, always be sure to breathe and not hold your breath as this causes intense pressure on your venous system, the very one we’re trying to protect.
Not all exercise is beneficial for getting rid of varicose veins, and some can actually make them worse. Avoid running and other forms of high-impact exercise as they can worsen the situation, causing more varicose veins to appear. You should also try to avoid wearing high heels as they can put excess pressure on the muscles in your legs. Aside from low-impact exercise, it is helpful to elevate your legs above heart level for 10 to 15 minutes a day to allow the blood to travel from your legs back to your heart. This is a great excuse to brew yourself a cup of tea and sit down – with your feet up – and enjoy a good book.
Additionally, you can complement your exercise routine with natural supplements that can help heal and prevent varicose veins. Look for supplements that contain the bioflavonoids diosmin and hesperidin, as they have been proven to be effective in treating varicose veins. These two bioflavonoids have been used since the 1970’s and are found naturally in certain citrus fruits. A supplement from a trusted natural health products’ company ensures that you’re getting just the right amount of each bioflavonoid, whereas the amounts found in citrus fruits are much harder to measure.
By combining these two approaches, your legs will be ready for summer and you will be feeling great from head to toe. I think we can all handle a little exercise, and putting our feet up with a good book, don’t you?
Kathy is a BCRPA-certified Fitness Instructor and writer who contributes to health and fitness magazines.