Can Weightlifting Cause Varicose Veins?

If you have varicose veins or if you’re concerned about your vein health, you probably know that getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain healthy circulation in your veins and in your arteries too. Generally speaking, when you’re active, your entire circulatory system works more efficiently to move blood and prevent it from becoming sluggish and “pooling up” inside your veins. And that means, again, generally speaking, your veins are less likely to develop weak valves that are a primary cause of varicose veins.

But what you may not know is that not all types of physical activity are necessarily good for your veins. And in fact, some physical activities can even cause or contribute to varicose vein development. Specifically, activities that place additional or excessive strain on your veins and your circulatory system are more likely to cause vein-related problems, simply because when you increase the pressure inside your veins, you put more stress on the tiny valves, which means they’re more likely to malfunction and become permanently damaged.

How Lifting Weights Contributes to Varicose Veins

Being overweight or obese is a major cause of varicose veins. Why? Because all that extra weight puts a lot of strain on your veins and their valves, especially when you’re standing up and most of your weight is shifted to your legs. Your lower legs, ankles and feet are very prone to varicose veins because they’re at the “lower end” of your body, and that means that whether you’re standing or sitting, your veins have to work harder to pump your blood all the way back “up” to your heart.

When you lift weights, the effect is similar. It’s true, the weights you’re lifting aren’t composed of fatty tissue, but your body doesn’t know that. To your veins, excess weight is still excess weight, and that means that even though you’re participating in an exercise or physical activity, that activity is putting added pressure on your veins. It’s true lifting weights is for a limited time while carrying around an extra 50 or more pounds in fatty tissue is an all-day event. And as a result, it can take longer for varicose veins to develop. But over time, a weightlifting habit can still cause varicose veins, and if you already have varicose veins, it can wind up making them worse.

Athlete Vein Treatment

Does that mean you have to give up lifting weight? Not necessarily. There are steps you can take to make sure your veins stay healthy without completely giving up the activity you love. The first step toward making sure your veins stay as healthy as possible is to schedule a vein evaluation. At Vein 911, we offer vein health evaluations as well as athlete vein treatment designed specifically for the needs of athletes of all levels. Plus, Dr. Pittman can provide you with helpful tips to improve your vein health, like including more aerobic activities in your workout routine or prescribing compression socks designed to provide continual, gentle pressure on your lower legs to support your blood vessels and help promote better circulation.

If you love weightlifting but you’re concerned about developing or exacerbating varicose veins, the team at Vein 911 can help. As a top vein clinic in Tampa, Florida, we work with athletes of all levels to help them stay healthy while still enjoying the activities that love. Take the next step toward better vein health. Call Vein 911 at 855-396-9911 and schedule your vein evaluation today.


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Vein911, Physicians & Surgeons  Vascular, Tampa, FL