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Question
Posted by: ciska | 2004/01/09

veins

Dear doc,

I'm just wondering if exercise will help to decrease varicose veins. I'm 20 years old and have some varicose veins that really bothers me.

Thank you

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Ciska

I'm not really sure about exercise as a form of treatment for this problem. I do know that the general circulation is really improved by regular cardiovascular exercise, and so activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, aerobics, swimming etc. It is important to exercise between 4 and 5 times a week, for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes each session. It is also ideal to work at a moderate to hard intensity, but for a longer duration. You should aim to do these sessions at an intensity that allows you to complete the session without feeling completely exhausted, but having worked up a good sweat and feeling that your breathing and metabolic rate are elevated. A moderate intensity is certainly the way to go - if you train too easily, nothing will happen, and if you train too hard, then you soon become tired and burned out. So, aim for an intensity that will allow you to finish a session and recover by the next one. If you feel like you are carrying a whole week's worth of training in your body, then you are traininig too hard. Other than intensity, the rest is easy - you just have to go out and get those sessions in. Of course, if you are just starting out, then I would suggest starting off by training every other day, and possibly for only 20 minutes. THen you should aim to build up gradually until you reach the 30 to 45 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week mark.

Other than this, and I would imagine that this would be for more serious problems, you can look into other methods of treatment. there is an article on the Health24 site at the following address that you can read.

http://www.health24.co.za/default_old.asp?action=article&ContentID=16016

Finally, just remember that standing around for long periods increases the chance of developing these veins, and so do a few other factors. From that article recommended above, here are some tips:

Wear support stockings from first thing in the morning until you go to bed.
Walk at least three times a week for 20 minutes, and keep your weight within recommended guidelines.
Avoid standing or sitting in the same position for more than 20 to 30 minutes.
Elevate your legs whenever possible.
Avoid high-heeled shoes, which can decrease the pumping ability of the calf muscle.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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