Sitting is not ideal for our bodies. Yet we spend most of our day sitting. Some say that “sitting is the new smoking”. This is especially true for those who work at a desk, although our time spent sitting extends further from the office. We sit when we drive, when we take phone calls, when we watch TV. All this sitting is especially bad for varicose veins. So I have a few tips to keep your veins healthy if you sit often.

Why is sitting bad for your veins?

Let’s first look at how sitting and varicose veins affect each other. Varicose veins are formed when the venous valves in the lower leg become weakened or damaged, causing blood to pool in the vein. The affected vein may swell and become painful, tired, restless or itchy. When we sit for long periods of time, we reduce blood circulation in the lower leg. Your veins don’t get a chance to drain some of the pooled blood.

The act of acutely bending the knee, groin or sitting on the thigh instead of the sitz bone contributes to swelling of the leg. Try these positioning strategies instead:

• Straighten legs while sitting

• Sit forward on the edge of the chair, not on the hip

• Activate calf muscles while sitting

While we can’t give up sitting entirely, there are strategies we can use to minimize the amount of sitting we do each day. If you can’t get up from your desk and move around, there are several recommendations for gentle stretches to get the circulation back in your legs.

Set a reminder

It’s easy to forget to move, especially if it’s not a habit. Most phones will let you set reminders, so use that to your advantage! You can set a reminder for yourself to either take a short walk or stretch every 30 or 60 minutes. This can give you a little push to get into the habit until regular movement feels like a normal part of your day.

Lifting the body

This exercise strengthens the calves, which can help boost circulation in the leg. Stand with your legs straight, then lift your heels and engage your calf muscles. Slow down, then repeat. You can hold the back of your chair for stability if needed. You can also do a lighter version of this while sitting. With both feet back on the floor, raise and lower your heels repeatedly to get the circulation back in your legs.

Stretch your legs

You can give your legs a gentle stretch when you sit. Sit towards the edge of your chair, straighten your legs and bend your body towards your feet. Be sure to keep your back straight to maintain pressure underneath. Hold for 30 seconds, breathing deeply and then relax.

Park further away

It’s exciting to get to the closest parking spot to the office or store because it’s less walking for you. But a walk is just what the legs need to boost circulation! You can find a little extra exercise time in a busy schedule by parking farther away than you normally would. Short walks can help both strengthen calves and circulation – which is always welcome after a long day of sitting.

These strategies can help give your veins a little support throughout the day. But if you have varicose veins, only treatment will fix them. You can visit Dr. Shah’s office and take the first step toward healthy veins. Call +35956996006 or +359892996006 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah.