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Recently my workout buddy was at a phlebologist who diagnosed varicose veins which have to be treated by surgery (just one large vein) the cause of this seems to be genetic and she now have to wear compression tights (at least until the surgery next winter).

We workout together for 3 or 5 times a week. The problem is that much of our workout seems to be not very good for her veins:

  • HIIT
  • Strength training (including leg work like weighted squats, lunges etc.)
  • Hill sprints (which is in particular intended to be a strength exercise for the legs especially the posterior chain)

She often uses also a mini trampoline for cardio.

Is it a good idea for her to continue doing this just wearing compression tights?

The point is that she is afraid to ruin her veins because of the HIIT, Weight-lifting and sprints, but she is also afraid to stop doing this because it is fun, and gave her great results.

I already asked google which gave me those articles:

The second article suggests particularly to avoid standing leg exercises such as weighted squats, deadlifts or lunges and choose exercises instead where the heart and the legs are on one level. I guess that doing upper body exercises like pushups, pullups or handstand pushups is no problem, but I am not sure.

However multiple discussions on this site showed that it is difficult do replace those ones (even by a chain of exercise) while getting the same results.

So it would be great if someone could give me some tips how to make her training more vein friendly while not sacrifice the results she has now (think of the goals as if she were a female figure fitness athlete, only as a hobby without competition).

Especially it would be great to see a good series of safe exercises for the lower body that can be done at home (i.e. with dumbbells, resistance bands and exercise balls) and that don't have other shortcomings (such as being bad for the knees or leading to functional muscle imbalances etc).

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She may need to get more direction from her doctor. Generally, exercises with the legs level or above the heart are preferable to those in standing or sitting. Exercises on a Pilates Reformer may allow her to keep her legs above her heart. The Mayo Clinic recommends: "Exercise. Get moving. Walking is a great way to encourage blood circulation in your legs." This will seem very basic compared to her present program. They suggest, "Your doctor can recommend an appropriate activity level for you." –  BackInShapeBuddy Jul 14 '13 at 8:18
Physicians are not exercise experts. Usually they only recommend some low intensity things like walking, swimming or something like that. They are not experts in helping with specific questions about designing for example a strength training program... –  Sarah Jul 14 '13 at 9:56
Yes, but physicians are experts on medical and surgical conditions and they can guide you as to what types of exercises would be contraindicated for a particular condition or diagnosis. If your friend's condition is severe enough to require surgery, it is prudent to clear any exercise, esp. resistance training with their doctor. And it is wise to err on the side of caution than to create a worse problem. –  BackInShapeBuddy Jul 14 '13 at 10:36

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