Do you work at a desk job? Or maybe you’re an avid traveler? If so, you’re already aware of the stress this puts on both your joints and your circulation. Of course, you’re likely also aware of the other problems associated with sitting all day. People aren’t designed to be in a constant seated position and, as a result, we tend to feel increased pain in our neck, shoulders, and upper back. Sitting can also raise our stress levels and lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
As the top vascular physicians in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center, we understand how constant sitting can impact your body, especially your vein health. We’d like to share the ways sitting has an adverse effect on your veins, as well as easy ways you can boost your circulation throughout your daily routine.
Why Sitting is Harmful
Sitting decreases venous flow, particularly below the knee. The sitting position compresses deep veins at the groin and in the mid thigh if we sit with pressure other than on the “sitz-bone.” Sitting for long periods of time negatively impacts your circulation. As we know, healthy circulation is important for your overall health. You may not know the impact sitting has on the veins in your legs specifically. Your veins have valves that are responsible for circulating blood throughout your body, but the veins in your legs are forced to work harder as they push blood upward against the flow of gravity. Long periods of sitting can contribute to vein valves becoming weakened or damaged, and blood can pool in the vein as a result, creating a varicose vein.
What can you do to counteract sitting all day? Getting up and taking frequent walks is one way to lessen the damage to your body. However, this may not always be possible during a busy workday or a long flight. Don’t worry — we have plenty of stretches you can do while sitting to loosen tight joints and get circulation flowing back into your legs.
Sitz Bones, also referred to as “sitting bones” or “sit bones,” refer to the bottom part of your pelvis. You feel your Sitz Bones when you sit and weight is pressed onto that part of the pelvis. Because our bodies have fatty tissue, large muscles, and flesh, it can be difficult to notice it’s there.
Part of good posture is sitting properly on your Sitz Bone. A lack of balance on our Sitz Bones can over-curve the lower back and send weight to other areas. Certain yoga postures, such as big toe pose, bridge pose, and cat pose, can help you balance the weight and maintain the right tilt on your pelvis. The elongation of the spine is thereby enhancing a healthy posture.
Calf Muscle Activation
Deep veins are within the muscles and calf. If you contract those muscles, you will get better vein flow. When sitting at your desk, you likely have adequate space to stretch any aching limbs. Remember: Breathing is important in all of these positions to help your muscles relax, and you should never go past a point that feels painful or uncomfortable. Aching joints may initially feel some discomfort, especially if they’re not used to calf muscle activations, but it should not be unbearable! We recommend trying the following at your desk:
- Toe flexion: A movement where the top of your foot points away from your leg. Flexion is whenever you stand your toes or point them.
- Calf Raises: Calf raises are a simple technique that improves muscular strength. Not only will it strengthen the two calf muscles, gastrocnemius and soleus, but it will also give your lower leg definition, which improves the appearance. Stand up straight and push raise your heel so you are standing on your toes. Lower back to start and repeat.
- Walk intermittently: Intermittent walking improves posture and is beneficial to blood sugar levels. Take three 10-minute walks a day to improve your health.
When Your Legs are Tired From Sitting
Even when stretching regularly, you may find that you experience heaviness or pain in your lower legs. If this feeling persists, it may be time to stop and see a vein specialist. They can assess the current state of your vein health and create a treatment plan that will lead you toward a life with pain-free legs.
The best part about seeing a vascular physician in Orlando? The best ones practice modern, minimally-invasive treatment so that you can get back on your feet ASAP. The specialists at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center are board-certified and have dedicated their lives to ensuring that patients are given the best care possible. Call 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 today to schedule your consultation.