You might not think too much about vein health. I get it. They aren’t front and center in the news, and your doctor likely doesn’t mention them by name.
But they can play a key role in heart health. Without healthy veins, blood can’t make its way back to your heart. This poor circulation can contribute to pain, varicose veins, spider veins, and swelling.
The truth is that veins play a crucial role in circulation and bringing deoxygenated blood back to your heart while having to work against gravity to do it. When that blood gets back to your heart, it’s reoxygenated and pumped out to feed and fuel your tissue and organs.
A big part of a healthy circulatory system, therefore, is fighting against the pull of gravity. Unhealthy veins make it much harder for blood to move up through your legs and back to your heart.
One way to encourage better upward blood flow is through movement focused on calf strength.
Calves are the large muscles at the back of your legs. They extend from just below the knee and extend about halfway to the ankle, and allow you to move forward. They hold you up and bear the weight of every step you take.
Spending more time walking, as well as doing calf exercises, can push blood into your calves and encourage better blood flow and healthier veins.
An easy way to strengthen your calves is with calf raises. You can fit them in throughout the day and after walks. All you have to do is push down on the ground with the balls of your feet to pull the heel off the grounds. Hold it for a moment and repeat.
If needed, you can hold a wall for support.
Walking uphill is especially good for your calves, but walking on flat surfaces also helps. Break up extended periods of sitting with a walk around your home, followed by a few calf raises. Do this hourly, and you’ll be on the right path to healthier veins.