Weight Lifting and Varicose Veins
Adding weight lifting to your weekly workout regimen can offer a number of healthy benefits. However, if you suffer from bulging, painful varicose veins, you may be concerned about how resistance training will impact your condition. You are right to be worried – some types of weight lifting can add to the stress of varicose veins and make the condition worse. However, you don’t have to give up the idea of resistance training completely. A few simple tips will allow you to lift weights safely, strengthening your muscles without worsening your varicose veins.
It is essential to warm up before any type of resistance training, to avoid injury to the muscles and unnecessary strain to your vascular system. A few easy stretches followed by some light cardio work is all it takes to prepare for the work that lies ahead. When stretching, pay particular attention to the muscles in the lower legs, since these are the muscles that support lower veins that are most susceptible to swelling and varicosity. The goal of the warm-up is to get muscles ready for work while increasing heart rate gradually to avoid over-taxing the cardiovascular system.
What You Need to Know about Weight and Reps
You may be tempted to increase your weight amounts in order to get those bulging muscles sported by professional bodybuilders. However, heavier weights mean more strain on the vascular system, which means a higher risk of damage to lower leg veins. Instead of bulking up, look to create lean muscle mass that effectively sculpts the body. You can achieve this goal with lighter weights and more reps – just enough to tire the muscle and you are sure to see results.
The Breathing Factor
The way you breathe while weight lifting will also impact your vein health. It is natural for many people to hold their breath while lifting weights, but this raises your blood pressure and the stress on your veins. Try exhaling while you lift the weight and inhaling as you bring it back down. This breathing causes movement in your abdomen, which in turn assists the blood flow throughout your body and decreases pressure in your lower leg veins.
Using Gravity to Your Advantage
Your lower leg veins wear out quicker than other vessels in your body because they have the added challenge of pushing blood against gravity back up to the heart. You can use gravity to your advantage by finding weight lifting exercises that put your legs and the same level or higher than your heart. For example, instead of doing squats while using weights, try out the leg press machine that works your legs in an upward direction.
Proper Cool Down Routines
After you have finished weight training, it is important to cool your body down so your blood circulation can return to normal levels safely. Reserve approximately 10 minutes at the end of your workout for your cool down, and use it to perform some gentle stretches and light cardiovascular exercise. If you are using compression therapy as part of your vein treatment, replace your compression stockings during this phase of your workout to encourage healthy circulation as your body recovers from the exercise.
If painful varicose veins are keeping you from the exercise you need to get in top shape in 2016, now is the time to consider treatment for those protruding vessels. At Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan, we offer a variety of minimally-invasive vein treatments that eliminate painful veins without a major disruption to your daily life. To learn more, contact our Manhattan office at 212-204-6501.