Something you should know if you’re living with chronic venous disease is that consistent movement plays a significant role in maintenance and management of the condition.
Prolonged sitting and standing can worsen symptoms of chronic venous disease like swollen, painful legs or varicose veins, as veins weakened by the condition do not allow for blood to flow as well as it should from the legs to the heart. Frequent movement increases blood circulation and supports better blood flow, which helps your veins do their job. This is why exercising or moving regularly is key to better quality of life and long-term management of chronic venous disease.
While it can be challenging at any time of year to maintain a regular exercise routine, the bustle of the season, inclement weather and early sunsets makes it that much harder to stay motivated during the winter months. But it is important to commit to regular movement to maintain your health if you live with a condition like chronic venous disease, so here are five easy ways to keep yourself moving this winter.
1. Don’t overcomplicate it
If you’re finding it challenging to bring movement into your day and stick to it, redefine your idea of exercise. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long routine that’s difficult for you to get through. In fact, it’s effective for you to walk around for three to five minutes every hour throughout the day, even if it’s just pacing around a few rooms of your house.
Getting glued to screens during long stretches at home? Try setting a small chore or task to do once an hour, or set alarms to go off with your favourite songs, and commit to moving around for the duration. Maybe you can let your environment influence your movement—play with or walk your pets, or bring a family member in your household a nice snack. Even just getting 250 steps an hour will make a difference in maintaining regular exercise. Once you make the idea of exercise simpler and more accessible in your head, you’ll find it easier to keep up with.
2. Embrace the season
It might be colder out there, but don’t let that stop you from venturing outside. Several layers of lighter clothing under your winter gear will keep you warm. Winter routine activities like salting the driveway and light shoveling are natural ways to keep moving (but be careful if shoveling is a level of activity you don’t do often).
Or, do things differently this year and enjoy winter like a kid again. Find a big hill to toboggan down. The trip back up to the top will be better exercise than you remember. Snowball throwing and snowmen, if the weather permits, are all fun ways you’re staying active without realizing, so get the family involved for some outdoor fun.
3. A little retail therapy
Sometimes a new purchase gives you that extra motivation to start and keep a new routine. Check out the devices and gadgets that exist to motivate and engage you to move. You might find a deal on a fun health or fitness wrist tracker that helps turn exercising into a game or competition if it connects you with friends on an app. It’s a lot easier to get in the habit of moving when you have a device on your body saying you should.
If tech doesn’t put that pep in your step, maybe it’s that set of walking shoes that’s just gone on sale, or a luxurious new bath set to reward yourself with after a long day of staying moving.
4. Be realistic
If you’re just starting or restarting a commitment to keep moving, first evaluate your current movement habits in an honest way. It’s okay if your preferred marathon is of the Netflix variety. That’s a lot of us.
What’s important is to set your goals based on your actual level of movement with the intention to increase it gradually, in a way that feels attainable to you. This can be as simple as “I will walk around the block twice a day.” If you find sometimes you’re feeling like you can’t do anything, try to do just one small thing, like skipping rope for five minutes versus an intense kickboxing session. The feeling of accomplishment you get from that will keep you going, and maybe even motivate you to do what you didn’t think you could.
If you set a goal that you feel like you can meet, you’re more likely to meet it, and then set more goals that support your health and wellness journey. But setting that first attainable goal isn’t easy; take the time to consider what is manageable for you.
5. Make it social
Set dates with friends you’d like to catch up with to go on walks together virtually by chatting on the phone en route, or have a video chat house party with a shared playlist (and dancing, of course).
Movie and TV marathons won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Consider building in movement breaks when you’re watching with family at home or friends virtually, or doing quick blitzes of jogging in place in between episodes. The great part about watching at home is the pause button!
If you are dealing with chronic venous disease and are considering management options, Venixxa is the number one doctor recommended over-the-counter oral treatment for managing heavy, swollen or painful legs, varicose veins and related symptoms of chronic venous disease.
If you think you may be experiencing chronic venous disease, take the veinscore assessment to know your risk today.