If you work at a desk job, you’ve likely heard that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day isn’t ideal for your health. If you haven’t heard about it, you’ve probably felt it: a stiff back, a stiff neck, and the need to get up and stretch. Office spaces are becoming increasingly aware of the stress the job puts on employees. We’ve seen the attempts to alleviate the problem: the standing desks, the treadmill desks, and the office walking groups. These have come about as a way for employees to enjoy their job—without risking their health. Since sitting for long periods of time can also have a negative impact on your venous health, the vascular physicians in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center would also like to contribute some ways that you can keep your veins healthy while you’re busy at work.
What Professions Make You Prone to Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins develop when your vein valves are weakened or damaged, affecting their ability to circulate blood upward through the leg. Professions that require sitting or standing for most of the day can cause these valves to weaken over time. This is most commonly seen in people with the following occupations:
- Commercial driving
- Office work
If you’re currently in one of these occupations, consider incorporating these tips into your workday to help minimize your risk of developing varicose veins.
Why is Sitting Bad for Veins?
Let’s first look at how sitting and varicose veins affect each other. Varicose veins are formed when vein valves in the lower leg become weakened or damaged, causing blood to pool in the vein. The affected vein can swell and become painful, fatigued, restless, or itchy. When we sit for long periods of time, we’re minimizing circulation in the lower leg. Your veins aren’t given a chance to drain some of the pooled blood.
Ways To Promote Vein Health At Work
Do Small Exercises at Your Desk
The message is everywhere; exercise is important. Indeed, exercise can benefit every aspect of your overall health—especially your veins. Vein valves in your legs are responsible for circulating blood upwards, against the flow of gravity. When these are weakened, they’re less capable of doing their job properly and a varicose vein may form as a result. Sitting at a desk all day doesn’t engage these muscles. Making some time to do exercises, however, does not only engage the muscles—it strengthens them. While you’re at your desk, take some time to do exercises with your ankles and legs to keep your blood flowing. You’ll strengthen your calf and thigh muscles. In turn, this promotes circulation and helps maintain good venous tone.
Being sedentary for hours at a time isn’t good for your veins—and doesn’t feel comfortable, either! Take advantage of whatever time you can to get up from your desk and move. Does your office have a walking group? Join it. If not, suggest forming one. If an office walking group isn’t an option, then find other ways to keep moving. Take a trip to the restroom when you need to, choose to take the stairs to your office instead of waiting for the elevator, or just get a glass of water every hour or two. Water, of course, is also excellent for your health and your veins—a double bonus. You may be concerned about taking time away from your work to move around. Productivity is a normal concern in the office. However, no one can stay 100% focused for eight hours straight. When you take some time off to move, you aren’t just helping your circulation. You’re also benefiting your concentration. So, take a few moments to take care of yourself—you’ll come back to your desk with a clearer head, and feeling more capable of handling the task at hand.
Drink Lots of Water
As we’ve established, the trip to the water cooler is highly beneficial. Those few minutes walking away from the desk help your circulation and give you a few moments to clear your head. However, if you walk to the water cooler and don’t grab a beverage—or opt for a soda over water—you’re missing a vital opportunity to further aid your veins. Just as we’re constantly told that exercise is good for our body, we’re also always being reminded that water is a necessity. Your veins are one of the many parts of your body that benefit from water. When you’re keeping up with staying hydrated, you’re giving your veins the help they need to pump blood efficiently. So make sure you’re filling up your glass when you drop by the water cooler!
Avoid Constricting Clothing
Tight clothing isn’t just uncomfortable after a long day at work. It can also be constricting enough to reduce your circulation. Remember, your body needs all the help it can get throughout the day. Try to keep plenty of loose-fitting clothes in your wardrobe. Loose clothing won’t prevent your veins from pumping blood properly—and you’ll feel a lot more comfortable while sitting in a chair all day.
Wear Short Heels
High heels are common in many professional environments, especially for people in an office setting. On occasion, high heels are fine, but wearing them for eight hours every day can put too much pressure on your veins. Try minimizing your time in high heels by opting for a shorter heel or some comfortable flats. Your legs and feet will appreciate the break!
Stay a Healthy Weight
Excess weight puts pressure on your veins. If you’re currently concerned about your weight and its effect on your veins, reach out to a doctor. They’ll help you figure out the best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Elevate Your Legs
If you’re working at a desk job, try propping up your legs on a small stool to remove some pressure on the veins. Keeping your legs elevated at home can also help, especially if you’ve been on your feet all day. Spend around 20 minutes in the evening with your feet above your heart to reduce swelling and allow your veins to drain.
Don’t Cross Your Legs All Day
Just like high heels, a little doesn’t hurt, but too much can be a problem. Making sure you don’t sit with your legs crossed is helpful for removing the most pressure off your veins. Otherwise, mix up your sitting position by spending time with both feet on the ground.
Park Further Away
It’s exciting to get the closest parking spot to the office or a store because it’s less of a walk. But a walk is just what legs need to boost circulation! You can slide a little extra exercise time into a busy schedule by parking further away than you normally would. Short walks can help to both strengthen the calves and help circulation — which is always welcome after a long day of sitting.
Wear Compression Stockings
Compression stockings apply gradual pressure to the leg to assist with circulation. They can also relieve some swelling that occurs from long hours spent on your feet. Make sure to talk to a specialist before picking up a pair to make sure you’re getting the level of pressure that’s best for you.
Contact Us Today
However, even when we try our hardest to avoid it, sometimes our veins still become weakened or damaged. It’s okay. Sometimes other factors, such as a family history of venous insufficiency, still cause varicose veins or spider veins to develop, despite the amount of work we put into helping our veins. Luckily, treatment is quick and easy with minimal downtime for recovery. There are vascular physicians in Orlando who have dedicated themselves to helping those with venous insufficiency. If you currently have varicose veins or spider veins, consider visiting us at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center. You can call us today at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 to schedule a consultation. We’ll look at the current state of your venous health and put together a treatment plan that will work best for you.