The Importance of Elevating Your Legs

After a long day, after work, when the kids are asleep and you’re free to wind down, it can feel so good to lie down and stretch out your legs. But if you’re reclining on your couch with your legs straight out in front of you, you may be causing damage to the veins in your legs. And your leg veins might already have been under pressure all day from too much sitting, standing, wearing ill-fitting body shapers or too-tight clothing. And all of that pressure on your leg veins can worsen your spider veins or varicose veins.

If you’ve noticed that you’re starting to get vein issues on your legs, it’s not too late to start the new year off with a healthy resolution: making it a no-fail practice to elevate your legs. Doing so immediately begins to take pressure off your leg veins, encouraging blood flow out of your leg veins and into the rest of your body, which undoes the pressure of your day.

Whenever you can get off your feet during the day or at night, just prop up some pillows under your legs – the entire length of your legs is ideal, not just under your ankles (which doesn’t support your knees and thighs) – so that your legs get a good rest, positioned 6 to 12 inches above your heart.

And add some extra TLC to your leg elevation practice by asking your spouse or partner to give you a gentle leg massage, which further relaxes your leg muscles, soothes away your stress and lessens pressure on your leg veins. (And to be fair, and mindful of your partner’s health, suggest that you regularly take turns with those relaxing leg massages and elevation time.)

Elevating your legs for good leg vein health isn’t just a task to be done at the end of the day. If your job requires you to sit at a desk, in front of a computer, for hours on end, you can use your break time or lunch hour to bring a few yoga class bolsters or pillows into an empty meeting room that has a couch and give your legs a midday pressure break by lying back and elevating for a short time.

It may be difficult at first to grant yourself ‘lie-down time’ at home, since your family may pull at you for attention and information the minute you walk through the door, but once you understand – and share with them – how important it is for you to take good care of the veins in your legs, and decompress for a while upon arriving home or during the evening hours – you’ll soon find it much easier to take some blissful Me Time with a period of leg elevation and rest.

Leg elevation, you’ll find, will reduce swelling in your legs, perhaps make the day’s foot pain subside, and make your legs feel much better. This is one self-care task that will very quickly become a part of your daily routine, one that feels terrific right away.

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