Binge watching your favorite series or games this week? . . . Avoid painful legs!
Are you in to Game of Thrones or the Handmaid’s Tale? Maybe you are an avid NFL or MLB fan and can’t wait for a day to lounge around and catch up on the series, or binge all the games in the line-up for the day. Sounds like and amazing day for a lot of people, however, prolonged periods of sitting or standing in a stationary position can have an adverse effect on the circulation in your legs. This sedentary activity pared with poor food and beverage choices, can increase a person’s risk of lower extremity pain, aching legs, leg discomfort, ankle swelling, and increase the potential for blood clots. Don’t panic, I am not suggesting that you not watch what you enjoy, but I am suggesting you take a few breaks from the couch potato position to get the blood moving again. Instead of training the dog to get your next beverage out of the fridge, try some low impact exercises while you walk to and from your next snack. The following exercises will help improve the circulation in your legs and prevent your favorite show from becoming an enemy.
Leg exercises to improve leg circulation
- Calf raises: From a standing position, with your legs slightly bent at the knee, flex your calf muscles pushing your weight onto the balls of your feet, squeezing your calf muscles until you are on your tip toes, and then relax back down with your feet on the floor. 8 – 10 repetitions each hour.
- Straight leg raises: From a standing or lying down position. Flex your foot up, knee straight, engage your quad (thigh muscle) and raise your leg off the ground about 30 – 45 degrees. Hold it momentarily there and then relax it back down to the floor. 8 – 10 repetitions each hour.
- Squats: For this one, you don’t even need to take your eyes off the screen. Stand in front of your chair or couch, feet shoulder width apart, with your heels just about touching the front of the surface you are sitting on. Keeping your head up (so you don’t miss your show), bend at the knees and hips as if you are sitting back down, stopping the motion just before your bootie hits the cushion. Then stand back up pushing your weight through heels and squeezing your thigh muscles and back side until you are standing tall. 5 – 10 repetitions each hour.
If these exercises are too strenuous, please do not try them and cause further harm to yourself. Consider evaluation by a qualified lower extremity vein and vascular specialist for thorough evaluation and suggestions of alternate ways to improve your venous health.
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