Want Good Looking Legs? Put Your Feet Up Every Now and Then!

Who doesn’t want a great reason to lie back and put their feet up? It may seem like an indulgence in a life as busy as yours, but putting your feet up is actually a healthy practice that delivers many positive benefits. You’re not being lazy. You’re being smart about your leg appearance and your overall health.

Think about how much your legs hurt after a long day of standing, walking and even of sitting.  Or, think of how your legs feel after a lengthy trip in a car or an airplane flight. When you finally get to kick off your shoes, you will likely see that your ankle and legs are swollen, and nobody wants the appearance of cankles.

What is going on with my swollen legs and ankles?

After hours of being upright, blood has been flowing down into your legs, putting extra pressure on leg veins, which can cause or worsen lumpy, blue varicose veins or spider veins in your legs. Not only do you have puffy legs, you’re getting leg vein issues that will worsen over time.

When you have leg vein issues, when your legs look old and lined, and when your legs are swollen, you’ll likely avoid those stylish, leg-baring skirts and shorts of summertime fashion, and you may miss out on wearing bright, strappy summertime heels and trendy sandals and wedges that make legs look longer and sexier, and that make outfits more stylish. That would be a shame, especially as summer 2014 shoe fashion is all about the ankle.

You may not want to bring any attention to your thick calves and swollen ankles, your varicose veins, and the spider veins on the backs of your knees. The problem is, this can lead to self consciously wearing long caftans at the beach, looking even older than your years and having far less fun than friends and family (who are all cavorting in their bathing suits, shorts and on-trend short sundresses). While your friends are showing off their long, lean, tan legs and their designer shoes, your covered-up look tells the world that you dislike something about your appearance. And that’s understandable.  It’s difficult to feel good when you’re hiding.

On the flip side, wearing tight clothing, including tight skinny jeans or pants that are too tight at the waist, can also add to leg vein pressure and swollen legs. It’s not always a constantly-upright position that causes leg vein issues. It could be some items in your wardrobe adding to your leg vein issues.

Put Your Feet Up and Ask For A Massage

If you’ve noticed leg veins and some moderate swelling in your legs at the end of the day – or maybe all day long – it’s time for the easiest self-care step possible: put your feet up for a while.

Yes, that’s an effective and relaxing way to help ease the pressure on your leg veins and direct the blood that has been building up in your legs back upwards for better circulation.

So when you do have time to recline, arrange some pillows in a comfortable formation to get your legs elevated 6 to 12 inches above your heart, and you’ll start to feel better immediately. Some women even bring pillows to work, to grab a quick rest on a couch in the break room, with their legs up for a break in the middle of the day. Make it a new health rule to elevate your legs every day, and especially every evening when the weight of the day has been pulling you down for hours.

While you’re elevating your legs, if you have a willing partner, ask for a brief leg massage to help relieve the pressure on your leg veins, and enjoy some pampering courtesy of one who loves you. Studies show, also, that being touched by your sweetheart – whether it’s a leg massage or a hug – increases the levels of oxytocin (the ‘feel-good’ hormone) in your brain, leading to an even more blissful and relaxing experience. And when you’re done, encourage your partner to elevate his or her legs for a while, as you do the massaging. This healthy ritual can become a bonding experience and nightly together time that you’ll look forward to. And your partner, inspired by you, gets healthier leg veins as well.

If you think that you have no time at night for the indulgence of leg elevation, since your kids need you, there are household chores to be done, or you have social or work events to attend, think again. Those nights when your favorite shows are on television are the perfect time to schedule your leg elevation. And behind your closed bedroom door, when the To-Do list is complete and the kids tucked into their own beds, you can fit in some wind-down time before sleep by popping up some pillows for your healthy leg elevation to reduce leg swelling and reduce pressure on leg veins. During weekends, leg vein health can also be a priority when the kids are outside playing, or out with their friends, and your partner off playing golf or working on household projects. Some women even pile their pillows on the floor, so that they can snuggle up with pets as their furry ‘children’ snuggle or sleep next to them.

Remember that it’s a fully reclined position that best helps alleviate leg vein issues and reduce leg swelling. It’s not enough to sit in a chair and put your legs up on another chair. Incorrect positioning might even put extra pressure on your leg veins, making your leg issues worse.  As you practice good self-care with leg elevation, it’s smart to discuss your leg vein issues with your doctor so that a treatment plan can be made to reduce the appearance of varicose veins and spider veins, and your doctor also needs to know if you experience any dramatic leg swelling, which can be a sign of a more serious health issue.

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