What can I do to help vein health during exercise?
With people working out at gyms at record rates, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few thoughts regarding maintaining vein health during exercise.
During aerobic activities there is an increase in arterial blood flow to the muscles. Similarly, the venous system works harder to return this increased volume of blood back to the heart.
What to do during exercise for vein health
Maintain adequate hydration – plain water is the best, with no added sugar. However, sport drinks may add the benefit of electrolytes, such as potassium, which helps with muscle function.
Avoid hyperextension of joints – this may cause damage to the underlying veins by excess pressure. I often see people working out at the gym hyperextending or pulling back the shoulders too far which may lead to damage to the veins beneath the clavicle or collarbone.
Take frequent rests between sets – this, along with adequate hydration, will protect the muscles and veins from damage.
Does wearing support hose during exercise have a benefit for veins?
Many professional athletes wear support or compression hose when they compete. These seem to energize your muscles, preventing cramping and perhaps increasing performance. The clinical benefit of these support or compression hose seem to be after the exercise session, as they help in clearing the lactic acid that accumulates in the muscles during aerobic activities. Taking a page from the “pros”, it may make sense to give support hose a try.
Finally, remember that we excise to promote good health. Overdoing it has its dangers, and since most of us are not training to be professional athletes, there is no benefit in pushing it to the limits. Also, if you injure yourself, you will miss days at the gym.