Varicose veins and water exercise

Varicose veins are those unsightly rope like lumps and bumps that often show up in the legs.  They are essentially caused by poor ciruclation.  More specifically the valves within your veins ensure your blood flows in one direction.  When these valves begin to malfunction the flow of blood starts to get trapped behind the valve or may cause the blood to flows backwards or pool within the vein.  This forms the varicose vein which may be painful and throb, or they might be quite painless.  Ulcers can form over the bulging vein.

Varicose veins are pretty common and may affect as many as 50% of women.  Causes are many:

  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • routinely lifting heaving things
  • being on your feet all day
  • hormonal changes (medicinal and menopause)
  • and hereditary considerations

What to do about your varicose veins

There are many lifestyle changes that can improve your varicose veins such as:

  • wearing compression stocking over the affected area
  • lose weight
  • regular low impact exercise
  • surgery – there are numerous surgical options (talk to your GP)
  • avoid constricting garments

What I’d like to promote though is the use of water exercise to improve the look and function of your varicose veins.  Keeping the legs deep in water (the deeper the better) improves circulation to the whole body greatly.  Like a whole body compression garment, or a whole body massage, getting into deep water improves circulation throughout all limbs and the heart.  Deep water exercise will also improve the look of varicose veins as they flow better after time in deep water.  The hydro dynamic pressure of the water acts as a gentle massage to the whole body but even more so to the deeper limbs that are typically affected by varicose veins.  The colder the water the better, and if it is salty water that’s better still – it’s more dense than warm, regular pool water.  When the water is cool blood flow increases not only because of the hydro dynamic pressure but also because the body is trying hard to stay warm by pumping blood all around the body.    You’ll be moving to keep warm too and this aides the process of improving circulation (as you’d expect).  Warm water actually has the opposite effect.  It cause the blood flow to pool around limbs (that’s why you are so pink when you exit the water) and it can actually leave you feeling a little light headed as the blood flow has pooled in the limbs and left the heart and brain circulation with a lesser flow.  I’ll write more about this in a future post.

Regardless of your reason for participating in deep water exercise you circulation will improve and your varicose veins will benefit from the natural compression.  If you have particularly bad or painful case of varicose veins do not hesitate to see your doctor for advice to meet your unique needs.