Are you a sitting target for aches, pains and visible veins? Here are some insights that will bring you to your feet. They may include a body of facts most of us are aware of but set aside as we double down on the daily grind. Some may be outright startlers. Either way, it’s good to know that the damage we do to ourselves as we live our lives out at our desks, is largely reversible if acted on in time.
Exercise your willpower. The daily workout is no insurance.
Physical inactivity has an adverse impact on metabolism, insulin tolerance, body weight and heart health. Other undesirable consequences include cellulite formation, varicose and spider veins, blood pooling in the legs, or fluid retention in the feet.
What if you’re perfectly fit and have a great workout routine?. Turns out, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor regardless of how much you exercise back at the gym.
It’s necessary to do the willpower workout: turn your eyes away from the screen, swivel your chair, rise to your feet, step out of your cubicle or office and clock a few paces. Repeat every 30 minutes. Yes, a movement break is an absolute must.
Legs were made for walking. They’ll remind you.
If your shoes are beginning to feel a bit tight, it means your feet are trying to tell you they want to get moving. Excessive sitting causes blood to pool in the legs, swelling in the ankles, varicose veins, and blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It is also important to remember that a cross-legged sitting position can pinch blood vessels and aggravate the swelling.
People who need to keep standing at work, face these problems too. That’s because the leg, ankle and foot muscles don’t have a chance to contract, causing blood flow to and from the feet to slow down.
The downside of high heels
There’s something special about stepping into those heels – that lift of confidence as they raise your style quotient and transform your stride. They even give the legs that spectacularly toned look – but as the day wears on, your feet begin to murmur with discontent. The spine backs it up. Before you know it, the calf muscles are sore and they make no secret of it as veins begin to protrude. Varicose and spider veins are a painful part of living in heels and skin begins to lose its smooth, even look as circulation gets compromised.
Here’s how it works… or doesn’t. Walking with normally levelled feet allows a full range of muscular motion in the legs. The calf muscle contracts and drives the blood up through the veins towards the heart and lungs. High heels, however, restrict this movement as you are standing on your toes, which keeps the calf muscle contracted. The ‘muscular pump’ is restrained and does not push impure blood back through your veins as it should. This lost efficiency can cause the pooling of dark, venous blood in the leg.
If you already have visible signs of varicose or spider veins, do consider taking a break from your heels and enjoy the comfort of flats for a while. If the problem persists, it may be time to seek expert help by way of body solutions that relieve vascular pooling, reactivate circulation and restore the appearance of skin compromised by varicose or spider veins.
Be an offline socialite… and other ways to fight cellulite
Feel like catching up with a colleague? Avoid the temptation to let the fingers do the talking. Ditch the phone. Not only is it energising and mentally stimulating to walk around the office or circle the block in good weather, you could actually be preventing or fighting cellulite. Here’s a fun fact. About 95% of women have some form of cellulite somewhere on the body. Being skinny is no guarantee against it. Walking, running and swimming are great at increasing blood circulation and loosening fat tissues. Exercise stimulates the metabolism, tackling a common cause of cellulite formation.
Combining everyday energising movements with skin warming exercises can fix dimpled skin, if you are consistent with it.
Body brushing is fast gaining popularity as a stimulating way to tackle cellulite, although a scientific verdict is awaited. An energetic scrub, daily, stroking in the direction towards your heart or chest area where the lymph system drains, can perk up circulation. This can reasonably be expected to liven up lymphatic drainage and help tackle cellulite.