Sitting isn’t ideal for our bodies. Yet we spend most of our day in a sitting position. Some say “sitting is the new smoking.” This is especially true for those who work desk jobs, although our time spent sitting extends further than the office. We sit when driving, when taking phone calls, when watching TV. All that sitting is especially bad for varicose veins. Our team of the best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein and Vascular Center has a few tips to keep your veins healthy if you’re sitting often.
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.
The act of an acutely bent knee, groin, or sitting on the thigh instead of the sitz bone contributes to leg swelling. Instead, try these positioning strategies:
- Straighten legs while sitting
- Sit forward on the edge of the chair, not on thigh
- 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’re unable to get up from your desk and move, we have some recommendations for gentle stretches to get circulation back into your legs.
Set a Reminder
It’s easy to forget to move around, especially if it’s not a habit. Most phones will allow you to 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 boost to get into the habit until moving regularly feels like a normal part of your day.
This exercise strengthens the calves which can help boost circulation in the leg. Stand up tall with your legs straight, then lift your heels and engage your calf muscles. Slowly lower, then repeat. You can hold onto the back of your chair for stability if needed. You can also do a gentler version of this while sitting. With both feet back on the floor, repeatedly lift and lower your heels to bring circulation back into your legs. In order to help activate your calves wile sitting, there are Calf Muscle Activators that are available on the market.
Stretch Your Legs
You can give your legs a gentle stretch when sitting. Sit toward the edge of your chair, straighten your legs, and fold your body toward your legs. Remember to keep your back straight to keep pressure off your lower back. Hold for 30 seconds, breathing deeply, and then release.
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.
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 Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center’s team of the best vascular surgeons in Orlando to take the first step toward healthy veins. Call us today at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 to schedule a consultation with our vein specialists.