Friday, December 13, 2013

Healthy legs for the holidays: 5 tips for Santa Claus (and the rest of us)

Approximately half of the U.S. population has some form of venous disease, which includes (but is not limited to) varicose veins. According to Dr. Cindy Asbjornsen of the Vein Healthcare Center in Maine, there’s plenty one can do to alleviate the symptoms of vein disease and prevent them from getting worse.
While there is no proof that Santa Claus has venous disease, his job does keep him on his feet or sitting down for long periods of time. These five simple tips can help keep legs healthy this holiday season:

1. Wear loose-fitting clothing. Santa’s red suit, for example, is roomy and comfortable and wouldn’t impede circulation in his lower body.
2. Wear comfortable shoes. Shoes (or boots) with high heels can shorten the muscles in your calf and prevent deep veins from working at their full capacity. 
3. Sit properly. Focus on good posture and avoid crossing legs or sitting in ways that can compress veins for prolonged periods, such as sitting at the mall or in a sleigh.
4. Don’t smoke. Smoking (even pipe smoking) and exposure to second-hand smoke constricts veins and affects overall circulation.
5. Elevate the legs above heart-level as often as possible. Perhaps with a glass of milk and a plate of cookies.

Happy holidays, everyone!