By: David Martin, RN, CRNFA
As they do every year, spring and summer fashions will draw a lot of attention to the legs and ankles. How can you knock 10 years off the look of your legs, especially when you’re standing or sitting all day, chasing children or dollars – or both?
Exercise. Movement will increase the flow of blood and lymph to help prevent ankle swelling. You’ve heard it before: park far away and walk, take the stairs and make an extra lap around the grocery store.
Raise your feet. Even just for 15 minutes, raising your feet six to 12 inches above your heart will relieve some swelling and re-energize you.
Skip the salt and sugar. Salt makes you retain fluids, putting extra pressure on your veins. Sugar increases the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to poor circulation.
Stop smoking. Nicotine and all the related chemicals in cigarettes – even the new “smokeless” cigarettes – wreak havoc on your vascular system, including the veins in your legs.
Find support. While it is still chilly, look to support socks and stockings to help with circulation. Come summer, support athletic wear helps boost blood flow back to the heart and helps reduce swelling.
Treat varicose veins. Varicose veins, spider veins and their underlying cause, venous insufficiency, add age to the look of your legs and make you feel older due to the pain and fatigue. Men and women – especially athletes who participated in contact sports or people who have varicose veins in their families – are often surprised by how much younger they look and feel following treatment on their veins.