Move your legs around under all circumstances
When your job requires you to remain standing or sitting for long periods, you should take short breaks, walking or moving your feet in a circular motion for a short time. On long journeys by car, train, or plane, getting up and taking a short walk at regular intervals is good for the circulation, and promotes venous return.
Choose the right sport
When practiced regularly with appropriate footwear, walking is the most beneficial exercise for venous circulation. Contraction of your leg muscles promotes the upward flow of blood to your heart. Gymnastic exercises, cycling, dancing, and swimming facilitate venous return.
In contrast, sports, such as tennis, squash, handball, and basketball, are not advisable because they dilate veins and slow down venous return.
Avoid sources of warmth
Warmth promotes venous dilation. Therefore, exposure to the sun, treatment with hot wax, floor-heating systems, hot baths, and saunas should be avoided.
Prefer lower temperatures
Rinsing your legs daily with cool water after showering activates venous function, and diminishes the sensation of heaviness and pain in your legs. Walking near a body of water combines coolness and physical exercise.
Overcome constipation and lose excess weight
Constipation and excess weight are responsible for increased venous pressure, and can be combated by a high-fiber diet, adequate fluid intake (about 1.5 L of water a day), and by limiting intake of saturated fats (butter, red meats).
Wear appropriate clothing
Clothing that is too tight compresses your veins and hinders venous return. Choose clothing that is loose, avoiding tight pants, corsets, belts, and tight-fitting elastic stockings.
Wear shoes with comfortable heels
High-heeled shoes, as well as flat shoes, do not allow adequate pressure to promote venous return. So ideally you should wear shoes with heels of about 3 or 4 cm.
Aid venous return while you sleep
By performing a few pedaling movements at bedtime, and by raising the foot of the bed by about 10 to 15 cm with blocks, you can reduce venous stasis while you sleep.
Massage your legs as often as possible
Massaging your legs, going from the foot to the thigh in the direction of the venous circulation, increases venous blood return.
Visit your doctor regularly
You should visit your doctor as soon as you feel pain and heaviness in the legs, your ankles are swollen, or your veins have become visible, so that chronic venous disease can be diagnosed early and preventive measures and treatment can be initiated. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant, or if you use hormone therapies, both of which can worsen venous symptoms.
Regular monitoring of your condition by your doctor is essential for good health, and to the choice of the best treatment. To learn more about the treatments go to the section solutions.