Do you enjoy going to work and do you do your job with passion? But if you spend most of your time sitting or standing without much movement, your veins are subjected to a lot of strain. And this can manifest with heavy, painful legs. We will show you why this happens, and how you can care for your legs at work with some simple tricks.
Healthy at work
Whether at the hair salon, in an office, at the reception, the checkout, or when working from home: in many jobs, a healthy amount of movement is sadly neglected. Eventually, the veins in your legs will suffer because of this. During their task of transporting blood toward the heart, they depend on the work of the leg muscles. During movement – such as walking – the calf muscles in particular exert pressure on the leg veins. It is primarily the “calf muscle pump” that ensures the transport of blood against gravity.
Extended periods of sitting or standing, however, almost cause the muscle pump to stop. Another factor is that blood flows more slowly when the body is at rest. The venous valves that ensure blood only flows in one direction then work overtime.
As a result, less blood is transported and increasingly builds up in the superficial veins of the legs. Feet, ankles, and legs swell up as a consequence. Unfortunately, painful legs at rest are not rare.
Ongoing inactivity therefore affects your health sooner or later. If your legs hurt after work, they feel heavy or are swollen, this can be the first signs of a vein problem. But you don’t have to simply put up with these kinds of symptoms. There’s a lot you can do for your well-being and vein health. The good thing is: you don’t even need to turn your everyday life upside down. Our tips are easy to implement. Turn them into a routine for the best results. Do what is best for you and your veins!
Tips for fit, healthy legs
1. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes
Make sure your clothing isn’t too tight. If your pants or your belt constrict you, this is not only uncomfortable – it also compromises blood circulation and vein activity. For the same reason, it’s important that your shoes aren’t too tight. Remember that your feet may naturally swell slightly over the course of the day. When you buy new shoes, it’s best to do this later on in the day. And if your shoes are tight in the morning, better wear a different pair at work.
High heels and rigid soles restrict the natural heel-to-toe movement of the feet when walking. This means tougher conditions for the muscle pump in the feet. So save these particular models for special occasions – if at all. During everyday activities, comfortable shoes are the first choice for your veins.
2. Put your legs up or massage them regularly
If your legs feel increasingly heavy after long periods of standing or sitting, put your feet up for a few minutes. Elevation encourages the return flow of blood from the legs and relieves your veins.
Massaging your legs every now and then is also beneficial. You can use an aid like a massage or fascia ball, but your hands will also do the trick. Start with your feet and work toward your knees.
3. Stay hydrated
An essential element of vein health is a sufficient liquid supply. Try to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. This will keep your blood liquid, which, in turn, reduces the risk of thrombosis. It will also keep your vein walls elastic.
Water is the best choice for keeping your veins healthy. Be cautious with sugary drinks, such as sodas. This also applies to alcohol after work: it expands your vessels. If you need something with a little flavor in the meantime, choose sugar-free tea or juice spritzers (with a lot of water).
4. Supporting veins with compression
Medical compression stockings are an important part of treating vein problems. But not only then: even if you aren’t suffering from significant symptoms yet, with compression,you can make an important contribution to prevention and support your veins.
When you wear medical compression stockings at work, more pressure is exerted on your leg veins, and the function of your venous valves is supported. This ensures a more effective transport of blood and that less fluid pools in the tissue. Compression stockings therefore help you effectively relieve your legs and counteract swelling – ensuring light, active legs, even after a long day sitting or standing.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, there are different models. Their effectiveness is adapted to your particular needs. Would you like to, for example, support your veins during the day because your work doesn’t offer much activity? Then support stockings with gentle compression are a convenient helper that guarantees light legs. Or have you already been diagnosed with a venous disorder? In this case, your physician can write you a prescription for medical compression stockings that suit your needs. The following always applies: for best effectiveness, the perfect fit is required. Get advice from a medical retailer who can also carry out the (digital) measurement.
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By the way: don’t let common preconceptions confuse you. High-quality medical compression stockings provide a comfortable wearing sensation and unrestricted freedom of movement. In addition, they’re available in numerous styles, colors, and patterns – whether subtle for working in an office or your favorite shade matching your outfit.
5. Don’t forget to exercise!
You’ve probably guessed it: movement is a must for vein health – at work, too. You should therefore try to develop routines to incorporate more activity into your work day. Not only does this help with pain and heavy legs after work, but also reduces stress. Why not go for a small stroll in the fresh air during your lunch break? You should also change your sitting position regularly, and go see a colleague rather than ringing her. Even during periods of high workload, you should at least make sure you stand up and take a few steps or relax your legs every now and then. A step counter can provide additional motivation and help you stay active. And if you take the bus or train to work, you can – time permitting – just get off a few stops earlier on the way home and walk the rest of the way.
6. Exercises at work
There are various exercises you can do in between that activate your calf muscle pump and relieve your veins. You can do some of those in the workplace, others are more suitable if you work from home. Try to incorporate as many different exercises as possible into your work day.
- Get your legs moving: march in place and alternately raise your knees up powerfully, while gently swinging your arms.
- Stand up straight. Lift one leg a few centimeters off the floor. Draw a figure-of-eight in the air with your foot. Repeat five to ten times and then simply switch sides.
- Lie flat on your back with your arms stretched out close to the body, also on the ground. Now lift your legs up and perform pedaling movements for 30 seconds as if you were riding a bike.
- Stand up straight. Keep your feet as close together as possible. Now stand on your tiptoes until you feel pressure in your calf muscles, then lower your heels slowly. Repeat this sequence 15 times.
- Sit in a chair and place your feet on the ground. Raise and lower your toes slowly. Repeat this sequence 15 times per foot.
7. Healthier when working from home
Do you work from home a lot? Then you may find some of the tips easier to implement, such as putting your feet up every now and then or wearing comfortable clothing. But working from home poses the risk of moving even less than when working in an office. You must therefore make sure you stay active. Incorporate regular home workouts into your day and ensure your workplace at home is ergonomic. This counteracts tired, heavy legs after work, and you will also stay healthy when working from home.
8. When finishing work: exercise and wellness
There's more to life than just work. After a long day’s standing or sitting, you may be tempted to relax on the couch. And sure, putting your feet up is beneficial for the veins – particularly if your legs are painful and heavy after work: elevation relaxes your legs and supports the work of the veins. You can enhance the effect even more with a leg massage – always moving from the feet toward the heart.
However, your body – and your mind – do enjoy the compensation that exercise provides when you have finished work. Go for a little walk in the park, regularly exercise moderately, and go hiking or cycling on the weekend.
If you’ve previously not been very active during your leisure time, perhaps because you don’t have time, you don’t like exercise, or your legs hurt after work, please don’t get discouraged. Start with small changes and consider how you can incorporate more activity into your everyday life – make time for yourself and your health! Being active isn’t just beneficial for your veins, it also strengthens your physical and mental well-being.