Healthy living for healthy legs
As a person walks, the calf muscles rhythmically contract and
relax, squeezing the deep veins and act as a second heart to
push the blood up the veins. The muscle pumps move blood up
the legs toward the heart against gravity with the help of one-
way valves in both the surface and deep veins. Reduced activity
decreases the venous flow back from the legs and damage to
the valves such as varicose veins, injury and blood clots -also
affect the flow in the veins. The pooling of blood in the legs can
cause discomfort, swelling, skin changes, phlebitis and
increased risk of blood clots.
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Many patients with vein disease are depressed about the way their legs look. They may not need to
be treated for cosmetic improvement but ignoring them can miss the early warning signs and in later
stages of disease, leg ulcers can lead to chronic suffering and social exclusion.
There are many factors that increase your risk of developing significant vein disease which include
family history of vein disease, multiple pregnancies, occupations that require prolonged periods of
sitting or standing, injuries, inflammation and excessive weight.
One cannot change the genetics but you can promote the aim of ‘healthy legs for healthy life’
by identifying opportunities for positive lifestyle changes.
Regular exercise helps keep your body and legs healthy.
Eating a healthy balanced diet helps with general nutrition and your circulation. Vegetables and
fresh fruits that are rich in anti-oxidants and flavanoids particularly strengthen your leg veins.
Losing weight is definitely a positive for leg health. Regular exercise can contribute to weight loss
and healthy legs. This improves your exercise capacity, reduced pooling of blood within the fatty
tissue, reduces muscle fatigue and there are emotional benefits of exercise. Endorphins are
released with exercise and you may begin to feel better when you know you are doing your part
towards healthy living for healthy legs.
Working atmosphere can appear to restrict you ability to consciously improve your wellbeing. But
there are simpler ways to make your whole day healthy. Walk or cycle to work and take those stairs
at work. Keep moving your legs by stretching, moving your ankles and feet at regular intervals.
Change your position if you sit or stand for long periods. Poor general posture during the day can
make your legs ache, heavy and tired. Keep your shoulders back, chest up and stomach pulled in to
strengthen your back and spine alignment that improves the way you walk promoting calf muscle
work. Healthy muscle pumps promote healthy legs and healthy life.
Elevate your leg to boost your veins natural circulation while you are sitting at home on the sofa or
at the office by keeping a leg rest under your desk. After a long tiring day, revitalise your legs with a
cool shower or soak as the cold water constrict the leg veins to push the blood up.
Compression socks are a medicine that you wear for the veins. Simple below the knee stockings
such as flight socks at work can reduce the fluid build up during the day from prolonged sitting or
standing. Your legs will feel lighter when you get home and you will have more energy and improved