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Exercises to Avoid If You Have Varicose Veins

May 12, 2019 • • Blog

  If you have varicose veins or are concerned you may be at risk of the condition, you’ve probably been told to exercise. It’s good advice. Exercise supports healthy circulation and helps you shed extra pounds. Since being overweight is a risk factor for varicose veins, maintaining a proper weight may prevent the onset of varicose veins or at the very least lessen the discomfort of having bulging, twisted veins along your legs. Yet not all exercises are created equal when it comes to varicose veins. Given the underlying cause of varicose veins, some workouts may aggravate compromised veins. Before starting an exercise program, consult with a vascular specialist about which activities to avoid — and which promote healthy veins. Exercises to Avoid When working properly, the valves in the leg veins drive blood upward to the chest. But for a variety of reasons — age, weight, heredity, and sedentary lifestyle — these valves sometimes malfunction and cannot return blood to the heart as easily. The backlog of blood strains the vein walls, forcing the veins to bulge outward from under the skin — creating the visible sign of varicose veins. Weightlifting increases the pressure on veins in the legs and abdomen, and could be unsafe for varicose vein patients. To get to the heart, blood flow from the legs has to pass through the inferior vena cava vein in the abdomen. This large vein serves as the pathway for blood from the lower body to the heart. But when lifting a heavy weight, this vital movement of blood is blocked because the veins are under too much pressure. Other exercises that exert the same pressure on the abdominal veins include squats, sit-ups, crunches, and lunges. Even yoga poses that emphasize prolonged abdominal posturing can have the same effect as lifting a heavy weight. If you are a varicose vein patient and want to continue weightlifting, you may be able to adjust your workouts to be less stressful on the veins. Consider using lighter weights with more repetitions and be sure to breathe properly when lifting.  Do Low-Impact Aerobics Varicose veins patients don’t have to give up exercise, but they need to adjust their routines. Exercises that focus on the calf and thigh muscles improve vein health. When these muscles are stretched and strengthened, blood flows more easily between the extremities and the heart.  Low-impact aerobics like walking, biking, and swimming exercise the calf muscles while also reducing pressure on the veins. Jogging on a soft surface instead of concrete is another option.  Simple at-home exercises also strengthen the calf and thigh muscles if you can’t make it to the pool or gym. To work the calves, stand and grab the back of a chair for support. Raise your body up on your toes and then lower yourself down. Repeat 10 to 15 times.  Strengthen your thigh muscles by sitting in a chair and then going to a standing position. Do between 10 to 15 repetitions. As with any workout program, make sure to warm up and cool down before and after the session. If you suffer from varicose veins, wearing compression stockings while you exercise provides extra support to the veins. Take Care of Your Veins The staff at Bellamah Vein Center is dedicated to treating venous disorders. If you have varicose veins, we can recommend a treatment to heal your condition. We offer a range of therapies, from conservative options like compression therapy to one of several minimally invasive surgical procedures. We also advise our patients on the most beneficial exercise programs for varicose veins. Contact us today for an appointment.  

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