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3 Exercises for Vein Disease and Varicose Veins

Getting older comes with its own perks and challenges. The tradeoff for gaining more wisdom is dealing with a body that is less amenable to an active lifestyle. Issues such as vein disease and varicose veins become more commonplace, affecting as many as 35% of the U.S. population. Though the bulging veins may cause you discomfort and require you to put your feet up to recover, there are many exercises you can do to help relieve your symptoms and help with healthy circulation.
Varicose veins result from a circulatory condition we call venous insufficiency. This leads to blood pooling in our legs, which can cause leg swelling, aching, skin discoloration, and varicose veins. Many times, venous insufficiency happens due to age, but it also can also occur thanks to genetics, obesity, multiple pregnancies, sedentary lifestyles, and more. Though we can’t fix the faulty valves without surgery, we can help keep the blood flowing better with certain exercises.

Walk your way to health

Keep your legs healthy with walking, a classic exercise that’s beneficial at any age. The movement with walking helps the muscles in your leg contract, aiding in blood flow. It’s simple, free, and offers a whole host of other health benefits as well. 

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Though walking is a low-impact exercise, it’s important to check with your doctor before beginning. Ease into it, and make sure you have good, supportive shoes.

Lift your legs

Vein disease issues generally occur in the legs, so it makes sense that some exercises will target this area directly. Indeed, building stronger muscles will improve your fitness and help with venous insufficiency. Strengthen your calves with calf raises, a simple exercise that you can do anywhere. Simply stand with your legs straight, rise on your tiptoes, and then lower back down.

Swimming is a wonderful low-impact exercise that is gentle on your joints and muscles

Take a swim

Swimming is a wonderful low-impact exercise that is gentle on your joints and muscles while offering a workout for your whole body. The fluid movements can help ease symptoms of vein disease as well as improve circulation and build strength that can help with venous insufficiency.

Remember, regular exercise is always important, even with symptoms of vein disease. Choose routines that work for you and help you feel your best!

 

Heart-Healthy Holiday Ideas

The holidays are the time of year to reflect on all the joys in our lives. Friends, family, prosperity, and good health are all things to celebrate. Don’t just take your blessings for granted. The holidays may be all about the fun, but you don’t have to let your health slide. You can help keep your health in tip-top shape by following just a few simple guidelines over the holidays.

Keep it moving

couple jogging in the snow to keep heart healthy even during winter

The holiday season coincides with cold temperatures rolling in, leading most of us to want to curl up under some blankets by the fireplace. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in some relaxation—that’s one of the perks of the season, after all—but just remember to log some activity in your day. The blustery temps may keep you from taking your fitness routine outdoors, but there are still lots of winter-appropriate exercises that won’t leave you shivering in the cold. Knock out two things at once by doing your shopping at the mall. You can go early before they open to avoid congestion, and be ready to cross items off your holiday shopping list once you’re done.

Treat yourself, within reason

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Yes, it can be hard to resist all the holiday goodies beckoning you at every turn. But there are still delicious things to be eaten that won’t put too much stress on your heart. Forgo the sugar-laden iced reindeer cookies and choose these Cranberry-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies instead. They are packed with heart-healthy ingredients such as whole wheat, oats, and omega-3-laden walnuts.

Healthier treats can be just as decadent as their higher-fat cousins, as is evident with these Brownies With Butterscotch Drizzle. Bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate as well as whole wheat flour and low-fat sour cream and milk cut the sugar content. They are so rich you won’t even notice!

Stress less

preparing for a dinner

As festive as the holidays are, they can bring about some additional stress. In fact, heart attacks peak on Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s important not to get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. Remember that this time of year is about celebrating blessings, not running around stressing over gifts. Giving is all part of the fun, but don’t let it get you overwhelmed.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season spending time with your loved ones. To ensure your heart is in its best health this winter, visit Vital Heart & Vein.

Celebrate Earth Day With 3 Outdoor Exercises

Every April, people all over the world come together to celebrate Earth Day. It began in 1990 and is now recognized in over 192 countries. As Earth Day focuses on preserving the beauty of our planet, what better way to enjoy the celebration than spending time in nature? Here are 3 outdoor exercises that will do your heart and your mind good.

Swimming

It may still be spring, but Houston temps make it warm enough to start laps in the pool. The refreshingly cool water temperature will be nice once your heart rate gets going. Swimming is a great exercise that works your heart and lungs but is gentle on your joints. Just make sure you swim at a brisk pace–that is the key to keeping your heart rate going so you’ll burn those calories!

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Hiking

Going on a nice hike on a trail in the woods in a great way to soak in nature. You’ll burn extra calories with the rougher terrain, and the gorgeous scenery will do wonders for your stress levels, another bonus that will help your heart. Hiking has been shown to improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels as well as provide the cardio your heart needs to stay fit and strong.

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Driveway Workout

Want to get outdoors but not venture too far? This driveway workout may be the answer for you. It breaks up your typical routine but doesn’t require a lot of time or effort.

However you plan to get your heart-healthy exercise, now’s the perfect time to do it outdoors. When you need a cardiology specialist in Houston, visit us at Vital Heart & Vein. Our heart doctors will help you see why we’re known as the best cardiologists in Houston.

3 Myths About Varicose Veins

When it comes to varicose veins, there are many myths that are floating around, but buried under these false assumptions are also a lot of facts that many may not know.

Varicose veins are most often caused by a condition known as venous insufficiency, which is a name for vein disease that occurs when the veins in our legs no longer work properly in returning the blood from our legs back to our heart. This form of vein disease leads to pooling of blood in our legs.

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When blood pools in our legs, we may experience many uncomfortable symptoms, including leg swelling, fatigue, achiness, heaviness, skin discoloration, and varicose and spider veins, which usually leads many to seek out treatment.

Vein disease can be caused by several factors, and it is usually a combination of them that results in symptoms. Age, genetics, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and leg injury or trauma can all contribute.

Myth #1: Varicose veins are caused by crossing your legs or standing for a long time.

Varicose veins result from an internal problem with the veins themselves, so crossing your legs and standing for long periods will not cause them to occur. Though excessive standing can worsen existing issues with veins, they have been shown to most likely not be the cause.

Myth #2: Varicose veins are merely a cosmetic inconvenience.

Not true! While many sufferers will have cosmetic concerns, many others seek out treatment because of the discomfort they’re feeling as a result of the veins. The swelling, achiness, and heaviness that varicose veins can cause leave many unable to enjoy life as they once did, and so they come to Vital Heart & Vein looking for a way to be active and feel good again.

Myth #3: Varicose veins are always visible.

Varicose veins don’t just occur on the surface of the skin, where we can see them. They can also occur much deeper, depending on how much tissue patients have between their muscle and their skin. This is why it’s important to come see us if you are experience pain or achiness, so we can help you get to the root of the problem.

No matter what symptoms you’re experiencing or what your particular concerns are regarding varicose veins, Vital Heart & Vein can help. Our vein treatments provide Houston patients with relief so that they can get back to doing the things they love. We have four vein centers in Houston, so look us up to see which location is closest to you.

What is American Heart Month?

Each February, American Heart Month arrives with the purpose of bringing awareness to heart disease and stroke. The month-long recognition serves to educate the public on the number one cause of death in the United States. As heart doctors, Vital Heart & Vein considers American Heart Month to be one of the most important health awareness events of the year.

American Heart Month encourages the public to make heart health a priority and is designed to bring awareness to many factors surrounding heart disease, such as risk factors, symptoms, complications, and new treatment options and tools that arise as we make further advances. We also promote healthy lifestyles that can lead to greater heart health, including healthier diets and regular exercise.

The first American Heart Month was recognized in 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared it so. Since that time, heart health in the United States has improved greatly, largely thanks to increased knowledge on causes and remedies. However, despite our advances, heart disease remains a serious and important issue. With more than 17 million deaths each year, heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death in America. By 2030, that number could reach 23.6 million. Heart disease and stroke cost the country nearly $1 billion a day in a combination of medical costs and money lost due to low productivity.

The month includes specific actions and events, such as National Wear Red Day, the Million Hearts® initiative, and awareness activities targeted to both men and women.

There are several small ways you can encourage your loved ones to get involved with American Heart Month. Heart health begins at home with simple lifestyle changes, such as using spices to flavor and enhance food instead of salt. If you have children in school, reach out to administrators to see how they are encouraging physical exercise to get kids started early down the path to heart health. Reach out to doctors and nurses to see how you can get involved in helping educate the community.

The heart specialists at Vital Heart & Vein encourage a proactive approach to heart health year-round, but the push in February is nice because it makes it more visible to the public eye. Together, we believe that we can help Americans appreciate the value of a heart-healthy lifestyle and be on our way to a healthier future.

If you have heart disease issues, reach out to the best cardiologists in Houston, Vital Heart & Vein. We are proud to serve the Houston community, providing the best education, treatment, and prevention for a variety of cardiovascular conditions. To learn more, visit us online.