Do you sit or stand for long periods of time? Are you or have you experienced achy, tired, swollen or fatigued legs? You may be at risk. Leg health is an important aspect of our overall health, yet fewer people tend to think about it.
Poor circulation and other factors can cause these symptoms, which tend to result from blood pooling in your lower legs. This can lead to other (serious) health problems. If you are or have been experiencing these symptoms, or if you just want to be proactive in keeping your legs healthy, check out these 6 ways you can improve your leg health.
- If you can, try to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Exercises, especially walking, contracts and relaxes the calf muscles. The regular contraction and relaxation of these muscles act like a “second heart”. As the veins are alternately squeezed and released it causes blood to be pushed towards the heart, which improves overall blood flow and circulation.
- When it is necessary to sit or stand for a long time, rock your feet up and down on your heels and toes. This exercise simulates the beneficial effects of walking and promotes venous circulation.
- Elevate your feet. Elevating your feet above the level of your heart several times each day helps venous blood fight the effects of gravity. (This is also why you don’t have to wear compression garments at night.)
- Avoid excessive heat, such as sunbathing and very hot baths. Heat dilates veins, reducing effective circulation and increasing the pooling of blood.
- Control your weight. Excess weight burdens the entire circulatory system.
- Wear graduated compression socks and stockings to improve venous circulation and prevent and treat venous problems.