Dr. Stefan Hillejan: Healthy legs through vein walking
Rising outside temperatures and longer hours of sunshine automatically draw people outside. Exercise in the fresh air not only has a positive effect on your well-being, but also keeps your leg veins fit. However, high temperatures and long periods of sitting, for example at work, favor heavy and swollen legs, which over time lead to venous disorders such as varicose veins or inflammation and thrombosis. "If you want to protect yourself against this, you can strengthen your veins in everyday life with simple exercises," knows Prof. (Univ. Chisinau) Dr. Stefan Hillejan, phlebologist and proctologist from the practice clinic for venous and rectal diseases in Hanover and chairman of the professional association of qualified medical experts in Germany.
Heat build-up in the legs
Veins do hard work 24 hours a day. This is especially true for areas below the heart, such as the legs. In them, veins pump the blood against the force of gravity up to the heart - an act of strength, especially when people sit for a long time or stand a lot for professional reasons. In summer, high temperatures also expand the vessels. This affects the “valve function” of the venous valves. Blood, but also lymphatic fluid, then literally sink into the tissue and cause unsightly swellings in the lower extremities.
Patients initially feel an uncomfortable feeling of tension or heaviness in the legs, later there are also nighttime leg cramps and possibly itching in the affected area. On particularly hot days, blue veins appear spontaneously on the legs. “If you suffer from these first symptoms, you should react to prevent varices, i.e. varicose veins. Ideally with movement, for example in the form of vein walking, which effectively counteracts existing problems, ”explains the phlebologist.
Strengthened in everyday life
Whether at work or at home: leg exercises that strengthen the venous system can be carried out easily and at any time. Prof. Hillejan knows the most important exercises so that varicose veins do not form at all.
Vein walking - targeted walking strengthens the vein pump
Similar to walking, but with the difference that the special shape concentrates on the correct rolling and impression technique. It is important to first pull your toes up while your heel is resting on the floor. Then roll the foot up to the ball of the foot. Never push your knee through. Since this technique requires some practice, interested parties should take their time and gradually increase their own walking rhythm. Initially, the expert recommends a unit of about 30 minutes a week, which can be increased to two or three times a week over time. But be careful, always keep an eye on your pulse. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to have a conversation while exercising, even if there is no conversation partner. With suitable footwear and comfortable clothing, nothing stands in the way of your workout. Finally, stretching exercises complete the training.
Everyday exercises - sitting or standing
Sit upright, ideally with your back straight on the front half of the chair so that your knees form a 90-degree angle. Now tighten your heels, keep them short and put the soles of your feet back on the floor with a little back pressure. Take a short break after ten repetitions. Circling the feet also strengthens the vessels. In the same sitting position, stretch one leg straight forward and circle your raised foot ten times to the left, then ten times to the right. Now repeat the same exercise with the other leg. If you want, hold on to the back of the chair for stabilization. Finally, shake out the calf and foot loosely. Pulling your toes in from time to time, like a kind of claw, also brings momentum to tired legs.
If you stand a lot, you alternately raise your heels and toes to promote blood flow. In between, just take off your shoes and go on your toes - of course also possible with shoes - also activates the leg muscles. For longer standing times, do this several times a day. Extra tip from Prof. Hillejan: "Walking short distances more often, bike tours also have a positive influence on the venous system and prevent varicose veins."