It’s easy to forget about the extra physical stress you’ll be under during the holidays. We tend to spend many extra hours on our feet, and it’s our legs that will carry the burden of this extra standing…
The long-term strain of gravity on the body is the primary cause vein disease develops and, of course, the pre-holiday marathon doesn’t help us.
Our veins are responsible for bringing blood back to the heart, and our blood’s upward route against gravity makes this difficult, particularly during extended periods we spent on our feet.
Several factors contribute to gravity’s pressure on our legs, stretch veins and cause them to become varicose:
Prolonged standing or sitting
Here are ten tips to keep your legs healthy during the holiday season:
1. Moderation is key: Try to maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water (pop and alcohol don’t count) and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Studies show that foods rich in bioflavonoids (such as spinach, bell peppers & broccoli) help strengthen vein walls. Avoid salty treats, as it predisposes us to swell.
2. Exercise: Exercises like walking, running or biking helps us pump blood back to the heart.
3. Swim: Swimming, exercise or walking in the water, especially late in the day, reduces venous congestion and swelling.
4. Use compression stockings: Compression stockings can prevent varicose and spider veins and decrease symptoms of venous disease. There are medical-grade compression stockings that reduce swelling and improve blood flow.
5. Elevate: Keep your legs elevated whenever possible to assist blood flow and rest your legs.
6. Sit correctly: Avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time and put little pressure on the under part of your thigh.
7. Wear good shoes: Low-heeled shoes promote the calf pump. High heels restrain your calf pump from working, so reserve wearing them for only special occasions.
8. Moisturize: Moisturize your legs, especially in the lower calf and ankle area. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
9. Stay active when traveling: In addition to wearing compression stockings, stand or walk around the plane cabin every hour. Remember even simple calf exercises help circulation. Stretch whenever possible.
10. Wear loose-fitting clothing: Tight pants and Spanks limit the blood flow to our groin area.
It is common for travel to disrupt our exercise routines and force us to stay in confined spaces like cars or airplanes. During flights, restricted movement, lower oxygen pressure and dehydration cause blood to pool in your legs, increasing your chances of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots. While traveling may expose certain risks, a little planning can prevent a complication.
Remember to think of yourself this holiday season. Your continued health is one of the best gifts you could give your family.
Book your appointment today.