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The Blog of Northwest Vein Center

Swimming for Health

May 12, 2017

The warmer weather is fast approaching which means more days at the beach and pool. As enjoyable as swimming is at any age, did you know that it also can help to improve your vascular health? Being in water is the only place that gravity doesn’t affect your leg veins (unless you count being in outer space or standing on your head!). Choosing to swim daily can help prevent painful and unpleasant symptoms that result from vein disease.

A key factor in vein disease is the effect of gravity. Veins already have a hard enough job transporting blood from the heart, down the legs, and back up to the heart again. A variety of factors –occupation, pregnancy or hormones, and heredity – can all affect the veins. These effects can lead to the veins to become stretched and malfunction. The anti-gravity effects of swimming and water exercise makes the activities some of the best ways to take “pressure” off your veins and promote strong leg health.

If possible, daily water immersion is recommended— whether it’s walking, swimming, pedaling with an Aqua Jogger or other buoyant device or even simply sitting in the shallow end. People typically experience relief of aching, throbbing and pressure, particularly if their job requires prolonged standing or sitting. Pool therapy can also be effective in patients with lymphedema – swelling secondary to abnormal lymphatics in the leg.

Pool therapy relieves the discomfort of spider and varicose vein. While people often think of these issues as solely aesthetic, if left untreated these problems can lead to thickening and dryness of the skin and even ulceration of the lower leg.


3 Easy Tips to Improve Leg Health:

Exercise: Whether on land or in the water, focus on activating your calf muscle. The calf muscle acts as a pump and with each step, it contracts which squeezes the veins and pushes blood back toward the heart. Doing this motion in water enhances the effects, due to the lack of gravity.

Elevation: Take every opportunity to elevate your legs if you must sit for long periods of time. Raising your legs to be closer to heart level will help to give your veins a rest.

Compression: Compression stockings can significantly help to prevent and relieve symptoms of venous disease. Compression can prevent varicose and spider veins or keep them from progressing by helping the calf pump. Like elevation, compression is particularly important if you spend long periods sitting or standing for work.

Vascular health is incredibly important to your overall health, but being aware of the symptoms and signs, and practicing a healthy, active lifestyle can help to prevent any major issues. Plus, it can even be fun to stay active if it means spending more time in the water this summer!

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