Chronic Venous Insufficiency happens when blood isn’t pumped effectively from the legs back to the heart, as a result of veins or valves not working properly. That’s why exercise is so important. It gets blood pumping around the body instead of allowing it to naturally gravitate towards your feet and ‘pool’ in the legs. Exercise also builds muscle which can help to improve your circulation. Here are three simple ways to get moving…
1. Regular walking
It may seem obvious, but walking is one of the simplest things you can do to encourage blood to flow back up towards the heart, as your muscles contract with every step. It’s an easy activity for most people to do but, if you have mobility issues, check with your care provider first. Staying active will also help you to maintain a healthy weight which is important for managing your symptoms.
2. Calf pumping
Many people living with CVI use a pneumatic calf pump in conjunction with compression therapy to control swelling. These devices use cuffs that fit around the legs and squeeze them to encourage blood flow. But, there is a simple exercise you can do at home to achieve the same effect. Lie down with a cushion underneath your leg so that it’s slightly raised. Point your toes down towards the floor and then flex them back up towards the ceiling. Do this for a few minutes several times a day.
3. Stretching exercises
Any exercises that stretch the muscles in your legs can help increase flexibility and improve circulation. Start by lying on your back and slowly lift one leg at a time, holding it in the air for a few seconds before releasing it back down. If you feel you can do more, try lunges. Standing with your feet slightly apart, step forward with one leg and bend your knee, hold, then switch legs and repeat. These exercises are great for working calves and feet.
No exercise should be undertaken without first consulting a specialist.