Exercise to Reduce the Risk of Varicose Veins

Photo Credit: Voyeurproject CC-BY-SA-3.0

Varicose veins are large blood vessels visible just below the skin surface. Women are particularly susceptible to developing varicose veins, but people who stand long hours at work and people with a blood relative who has varicose veins are also at risk to develop varicose veins. Contrary to popular belief, crossing your legs does not contribute to or cause varicose veins. About 80% of those who develop varicose veins inherited the condition. There is no guaranteed way to prevent varicose veins, but you can reduce your risk with regular exercise. Exercise that strengthens the leg muscles and improves circulation is the best way to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins. 
Walking is the easiest way to exercise to develop strong leg muscles and improve your cardiovascular system, including vein strength. Walk daily for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Instead of taking the elevator or escalator, try walking a few flights of stairs every day. 
Elevating your legs and pumping them as if riding a bicycle will help to strengthen the leg muscles and improve circulation in the legs. Lie down on your back and lift your bottom off the floor a few inches with your palms under your buttocks. Pump your legs forward for 20 repetitions and then reverse for 20 repetitions.  Repeat this exercise daily. 
Leg lifts also help to improve blood flow and strengthen the leg muscles. Lie on your back and place your hands, palms down, on the floor on each side of your body. Lift one leg about 12 inches off the floor and hold your leg elevated for 5 seconds. Slowly lower your leg and then repeat with the other leg. Repeat 10 times on each side.