Healthy legs play a major role in maintaining your overall health. You may be surprised to learn that up to 40 percent of people may have some sort of venous insufficiency, which can lead to an unhealthy cycle. The related leg pain, swelling and discomfort of vein disease makes it harder to remain active, which increases your risk of becoming overweight or obese, which in turn worsens your venous insufficiency. We want to help you break this cycle and love your legs this February, so you can get back to the activities you enjoy.
Exercise: The Key to Your (Healthy) Heart
You’ve no doubt heard that exercise is critical to heart health, but it’s also essential for the health of your veins. That’s because your heart can’t effectively circulate your blood all on its own. And since your lower legs and feet are the furthest from your heart, your heart counts on you to regularly contract your calf muscles to help pump blood in and out of your lower limbs.
Depending on your fitness level, you may need to start slowly with simple movements to increase blood flow. We created a series of short videos that demonstrate some easy movements you can do at home, including several you can do while seated. Your goal is to steadily work your way up to more vigorous activities. Remember, healthy legs help support a healthy life!
Count the Ways to Love Your Legs This February
Being active doesn’t require going to the gym, and even 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can provide tremendous health benefits. The 30-minute goal can be achieved even divided into three 10-minute intervals, which may be easier to accomplish during a hectic day.
Here are some activities you can do safely* from home:
Walking: Taking walks around your yard or neighborhood is great for your legs, your overall health and your mood. Start with a 10-minute walk once a day and gradually add time or increase your speed as you build your stamina. For extra motivation, walk with a buddy.
Stretching: There are lots of benefits to performing daily stretches, from improving your flexibility and range of motion and increasing your blood flow, to providing stress relief and a feeling of calm. Here are eight simple stretches you can do in about 10 minutes.
Chair Exercises: Even older adults or people who have difficulty with mobility or balance can exercise while seated. Here are 11 chair exercises that can help to improve strength, balance, mobility and circulation.
Cycling: Riding a bicycle is another low impact exercise that is excellent for both your leg health and your overall health. You can ride inside on a stationary bike, or head outside when the weather is nice (don’t forget your helmet!). Again, start low and slow and build the duration and intensity over time.
Make Time for Movement
There are countless activities you can do at home to engage your leg muscles and improve your heart and vascular health. Find something you enjoy—such as gardening, a game of hoops with your kids, walking the dog—and then it won’t seem like exercise.
If you already suffer from leg pain, fatigue and heaviness that are keeping you from being active, we can help you feel better so you can love your legs this February and every month of the year. Take the first step; call us to schedule a consultation.
*Consult with your health care provider before beginning any new exercise routine.