Anyone who travels often for work or pleasure should be aware that taking a trip can cause problems with your veins, especially if you have already experienced varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other conditions. Of course, you can’t just quit your job, and you don’t want to stop seeing the world. Luckily, you don’t have to. There are a number of things you can do to help maintain healthy veins and prevent complications while you travel.
Walk around once an hour.
Sitting for long periods of time, especially in cramped airplane or car seats, can lead to a number of circulation issues, including DVT. This is why it is important for you to stop and take a break occasionally. Most experts recommend once an hour. If possible, stand up and walk the aisles of your bus or plane. If driving, stop at a rest stop or even a store and walk around the parking lot for a few minutes to get your blood flowing.
Do a few foot exercises.
If walking is not an option and you have the leg room, consider doing a few leg and foot exercises. Flex each foot several times, and stretch your legs so that they are not bent at the knees. If space is limited, simply lift your heels off the ground and work your calf muscles a few times every half hour.
Avoid soda and alcohol, but drink plenty of water. When your body is dehydrated, your blood thickens which is not something you want to happen if you have problems with your veins. Be sure to avoid salty foods as well.
Wear compression stockings.
Compression stockings improve blood flow and can prevent swelling, so consider throwing on a pair before you head out for your trip. Just make sure they are not too tight. As a matter of fact, avoid wearing any tight clothing, including shoes, socks, and belts, while flying. It can actually cut off your circulation. Opt for comfort instead.
Prop your feet up.
Once you arrive at your destination, take some time to sit back and prop your feet up — at least half an hour. Be sure to ask your hotel for a few extra pillows.
Avoid the heat.
You might be tempted to jump into a hot sauna or bathtub once you arrive at your hotel, but hot water can actually weaken your vein walls. Relax by booking a massage instead, as it can help improve your circulation.
Stick to your healthy routine.
Eating right and exercising while out of town is important. Find out if your hotel has a gym or a cool swimming pool, or go for a walk and explore the new city. If you do indulge in some not-so-healthy foods, eat light the next day.
Talk to a doctor before you leave.
If you have a history of vein problems or are at risk for DVT, talk to your doctor about preventative measures you can take during your next trip. He or she may even prescribe a blood thinner like warfarin to help.