Being stuck at home is a bummer. Not only is it difficult to see friends and family members, but forcing ourselves to be at home all day has a tendency to turn all of us into couch potatoes, working from bed until it’s time to see what’s available on Netflix. While this may sound appealing for a little while, after a few months, you can start to feel weak and sluggish, with your personal health suffering in turn.
The area where this is most apparent on our bodies is our legs. Normal leg health is generally maintained through walking and exercise — both things that are rather difficult to do when gyms are closed and there aren’t many places to go. An extended period without leg exercise can have numerous adverse effects: you can get injured more easily, you can feel weaker, and varicose veins can start to show themselves in your legs — a phenomenon we’re all too familiar with as vein specialists in the Milwaukee area.
If you want to maintain leg health at home or even improve leg blood flow, there are numerous exercises you can do at home or at your desk to get blood flowing in your legs. Here are some easy exercises for leg health that you can do at home.
From a seated position, there are several exercises you can perform to maintain leg health.
First, you can perform simple toe points. While seated, lift one foot off of the ground and extend it, lengthening your foot and toes as far as possible. Then, flex it so your foot is pulling upwards toward your body. Continue doing this in repetition for anywhere between 15 and 20 cycles, making sure to repeat with the other foot.
You can also do some hamstring stretches. Our favorite involves sitting on the edge of your chair, then picking your foot off the ground. From there, pull it back toward your buttocks until you feel your hamstring muscle stretching. Hold for whatever amount of time is comfortable, then return your foot to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg, this time only doing a maximum of 10 repetitions.
The final seated exercise you can do are leg extensions. This looks pretty much exactly how it sounds: extend one leg as far as possible, hold for however long is comfortable, then return it to the floor. Repeat there anywhere from 10 to 20 times, then do it again with the other leg.
If you have adequate space to lie down, many exercises from this position can dramatically improve your leg health. You may want to lie on a mat for your comfort.
The first exercise is the easiest to explain: scissor kicks. Lie on your back, then raise your legs in the air and move them back and forth like, you guessed it, a pair of scissors. Perform anywhere from 12 to 20 repetitions, repeating after a break if you so desire.
You can also perform some simple leg lifts. While lying on the ground, lift one leg into the air, then slowly lower it. Repeat with the other leg, continuing this back-and-forth movement between 10 and 15 times.
Bicycle kicks are great for both the abs and the legs. Lie on your back, then lift your legs in the air and pedal them as though you are on a bicycle. If you want to increase the ab burn, put your hands behind your head and rotate your shoulder with each pedal so that your elbow touches the opposite knee. Do this for as long as you feel comfortable.
Numerous exercises can be performed while standing.
Running in place can be a great way to get blood moving in your legs. Simply run in place for as long as you desire. For extra exercise, try lifting your feet higher than you normally would.
You can also rock from heel to toes. While standing, put your weight on your heel for one foot and on your toes for the other. Then, switch your weight distribution from heel to toe in one foot and toe to heel in the other. Repeat this at least 20 times.
Many of the other above exercises can be performed while standing; for example, you can do leg extensions or toe points, or you can simply lift your legs to the side or straight forward one at a time.
If you are performing these exercises because you are concerned about varicose veins, we are available to answer all of your vein questions. Reach out to us here to schedule a consultation.