As we hunker down at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we’re likely finding ourselves much less active than we used to be. Many of us are spending countless hours perched on the couch watching TV or reading. All that inactivity can contribute to current or future vein problems. Below are five vein health tips to keep the blood flowing and bolster overall health.
Vein Health Tips
Maintain some level of activity.
The best thing for the circulation in your legs is walking. Try to get up and walk around at least once an hour. Walk around your house, or walk up and down your driveway a few times. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you, or use one of the activity apps that let you program reminders and alerts. Even better is to take a walk up and down your street once or twice a day (while following social distancing guidelines, of course).
Use your TV time.
Try to elevate your legs while watching TV. During the commercials, do “foot pump” exercises. (Flex your foot up and down, contracting your calf muscle.)
Wear compression stockings or sports sleeves.
This is especially important if you are prone to swelling or edema. These come in different strengths; 15-20 mmHg is a good starting point. Ideally you would put these on first thing in the morning and wear them all day.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Consuming more sugar, processed foods and alcohol can lead to increased inflammation, which contributes to weight gain and the deposition of visceral fat, the “bad fat” around your organs. This can have many negative consequences, one of which is worsening of venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is “leaky” venous valves in the legs, which can lead to pain, swelling and varicose veins.
Try a daily 10-minute meditation.
Use this time at home to make some small changes to your daily routine that can yield profound improvements in health. Adding a 10-minute meditation is an excellent place to start. You can do it with an app on your phone (Calm is my favorite). Studies have shown that meditation can provide a variety of benefits, including reduced anxiety, depression and inflammation and improved immune function, brain function and sleep.
Double board-certified in venous & lymphatic medicine and surgery, Dr. John Koziarski earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Toledo (formerly the Medical College of Ohio) in Toledo, Ohio, where he also completed a general surgery internship and residency. During the final year of his residency, Dr. Koziarski was honored with being selected as Chief Resident. During this time, he also joined the US Army Reserves, where he served eight years and achieved the rank of Major while working as a general surgeon at Ft. Benning in Georgia. Learn more about Dr. Koziarski.