We ask a lot of our veins, often without even realizing it. They move our blood against gravity from our legs up to our heart, bringing with it essential nutrients and oxygen. They’re helped not just by our muscles (particularly in our calves), but by a system of valves inside the veins that open and close to push the blood upwards.

Woman power walking to maintain good vein health.If the blood isn’t able to get up to our heart as quickly as it should, it stays in the legs where it can pool in the ankles, causing swelling and sometimes pain. Varicose veins and other vascular conditions can occur if the valves and muscles aren’t functioning properly. This can happen because of any number of conditions.

At VeinInnovations, when our Atlanta vein specialists remove veins that aren’t working properly, those veins are gone and can’t come back. However, our patients often ask us what they can do to prevent the same problems from occurring in other veins. The good news is that there is a lot that people can do on their own to maintain healthy veins and therefore, healthy circulation.

Exercise

The right kind of exercise is key not just to helping move blood through your legs but to keeping your muscles strong so that they can help push the blood upward to your heart. Cardio activity is especially good. This includes things like walking, running, bicycling and swimming. Even gentle aerobic activity is good – whatever works best for your fitness level. The important thing is getting your legs moving.

Calf strengthening and stretching exercises are particularly important because of the crucial role those muscle plays in pumping blood up the legs. Standing on a book or other slightly-elevated surface, raise up on your toes and then lower your heels down to the floor. You should feel a good stretch.

Obviously, you should consult with your primary care physician before starting any new exercise regimen or if you haven’t exercised in awhile. You should also avoid lifting too much weight or doing anything that causes your muscles to strain or stresses your joints. This can harm circulation rather than improve it.

Diet

A healthy diet can do more than help you drop excess weight that can make you more prone to varicose veins and other problems associated with venous insufficiency. Foods high in vitamins C and E, fiber and bioflavonoids are recommended. Bioflavonoids are often found in brightly-colored fruits and dark, leafy vegetables.

Put Your Feet Up

This is easier said than done for people who have jobs that involve sitting at a desk all day or standing largely in one place. However, it’s essential to make time to minimize the damage done by these activities. Bend and straighten your legs as often as possible to keep the circulation moving.

Keeping your legs elevated is also key. If you can elevate your legs on something while sitting at your desk, you can help keep the blood from pooling in your ankles. Try to spend 15 minutes at a time, at least a few times a day, with your feet elevated higher than your heart. It may help to sleep with your feet on a pillow or two also.

The vein specialists at VeinInnovations believe strongly that each person can do a lot to improve his or her own vein health. This is true whether they’ve already had one of our treatments for varicose veins and want to prevent further problems, or they want to avoid them altogether as they get older – particularly if they have a family history of vein disease. When you see one our vein specialists, they will discuss not only the best vein treatment(s) for you, but the importance of your overall wellness to vein health. Call or contact us online to arrange a consultation at one of our convenient offices in Downtown Atlanta, Midtown and Suwanee.