For many of us, hard work is no longer synonymous with back breaking labor, but today it is more likely that our body’s are feeling the effects of our sedentary work and lifestyles. While most of us no longer risk physical injury while working, we do risk the hidden health dangers associated with sitting all day in front of a computer, including venous disease.
To add insult to injury at the end of our work day, what is the first thing many of us do? We sit back down on the couch to watch television or catch up on personal emails. We have traded in constant over-exertion for a nearly constant motionless lifestyle, and it’s causing many chronic and sometimes life-threatening health problems, like varicose veins, blood clots, and spider veins.
Venous Disease and the Sedentary Lifestyle
We sit too much and we sit all day: while we eat, work, commute to and from work, watching television, and more! There’s very little we do without sitting. For many Americans, when we aren’t sitting, it’s only because we’re moving from one sitting location to another.
While you may be more concerned with the weight you gain living a sedentary lifestyle, there are less obvious and consequences, including venous disease. Inactivity slows the movement of blood through the veins and can contribute to the development of painful, unsightly varicose veins and spider veins. It, also, increases your risk of developing blood clots that can cause leg swelling and physical pain. If the clots break free and travel to your lungs, the result is a life-threatening pulmonary embolism (PE).
While a sedentary lifestyle isn’t the only cause of venous disease, it is unquestionably linked to increasing your risk of developing varicose veins, spider veins, blood clots, and other chronic health problems.
But even if you sit for hours every day for work, there are ways you can spend your free time staying active, even if you aren’t an athlete or big on the gym memberships.
Tips to Get Off the Couch and Get Healthy
You don’t have to be an athlete or a hardcore fitness buff to keep your veins healthy. Simply changing a few bad habits that keep you immobile and horizontal can help you keep venous disease at bay.
Exercise While You Sit at Work
There are simple exercises you can do at work that can promote venous blood flow. Simple calf raises while seated activate the calf muscles to help pump the venous blood back toward the heart. Take a minute of two every hour to do 10 to 12 calf pumps. It is easy and you can do it right at your desk. Taking a walking break for some coffee or water, to check your in office mail box or to hand deliver a message are positive steps you can take, too. Stay as active as possible while you work.
Exercise While Watching Television
You don’t need a treadmill or stationary bike to get a good workout while watching your favorite TV shows or the nightly news. Simple floor stretches and walking in place can help improve your circulation, combat muscle fatigue, and help reduce your risk for venous disease. It can also help slow the progression of existing venous disease.
Walk While You Talk
If you take phone meetings or you just have the gift of gab, take your phone calls on the go. We all lament at how mobile phones are “ruining our lives,” but they have one very important benefit in that they don’t keep us confined. Take your phone call on a walk around the neighborhood, or just pace around the house or office while you talk. Plug in a Bluetooth and do some gardening while you chat, or hop on the treadmill. Think of other ways you can multitask your long phone calls. As long as you’re moving and using your muscles, your circulation will improve and you can help reduce your risk of developing or worsening venous disease.
Take Your Coffee Break to Go
Taking a coffee or water break? Don’t sit down right away; take it to go and walk around. Flex your calves, walk around the room or around the block, and improve your circulation and symptoms of venous disease. Don’t like to go cups that increase trash? Buy a travel mug and use it often.
Park Farther Away
Have you ever noticed that, even at the local gym, people try to find the parking space closest to the entrance? Make a habit of parking farther away from the entrance and get a little extra walking into your routine to reduce the risk of venous disease. Parking farther away is also better for your gas mileage (less gas burned looking for the perfect spot), your brakes (less stopping for pedestrians and cars pulling out), and your paint job (fewer drivers nearby to accidentally bump into your car). What’s not to like about this idea?
Go Mobile With Email and Social Media
Are you constantly checking emails and social media feeds? Get up and walk around while you do it. Download the apps to your phone and go for a walk while you read and respond to messages. You’ll increase your circulation, improve your overall health, and reduce the risk of venous disease. Just be mindful of safety and your surroundings. Avoid roads and crowded areas to prevent injuries. If possible, use a treadmill or walk around the room.
What if You Can’t Get Up?
Whether you’re chained to your desk at work or immobile due to bed rest, injury, illness, or disability, there are other ways to reduce the symptoms and risk of venous disease.
Compression hose and other garments are vital to the treatment and prevention of venous disease. Today, fashionable options are available for professional settings, a night out, and everyday use. We have a selection of hosiery, socks, sleeves, and even leggings that can help provide you with better circulation while improving the symptoms associated with venous disease. We also have a new loyalty program called Compression Coalition to help you save on your compression needs.
Regardless of your lifestyle, daily leg elevation is recommended. Spend 10-20 minutes per day with your feet above your heart. You can do this while you lie on the floor with your legs flat against the wall, or you can use pillows to prop up your legs comfortably while you watch television or read a book. Read more tips for leg elevation.
Help From Caregivers
If you have trouble moving on your own, help from caregivers and family members can ensure that your circulation remains healthy. Ask for help stretching your legs and moving the joints to encourage healthy circulation and prevent venous disease.
Get a Massage
Massages help work out fatigued muscles and encourage healthy blood flow. You can massage your own legs nightly or have a family member do it for you. This is especially helpful if you have restless legs at night. Get professional massages as often as you like, with clearance from your physician. This will encourage healthy circulation, reduce the risk of venous disease, and treat yourself.
See the Vein Specialists to Combat Venous Disease in Central Georgia
Whether you’re active or live a sedentary lifestyle, there are many causes of venous disease. If you have a family history of venous disease, take medications that can increase your risks, or you’ve simply started to notice symptoms like bulging veins or unexplained leg pain, it’s important to get evaluated by a vein specialist. Contact us today for an evaluation and we’ll work with you to help you achieve healthier and BetterLooking® legs for life.