If you suffer from varicose veins, you might welcome the colder months of winter. Bare legs can be covered with tights or trousers, and bikinis and trunks are certainly out of the question with temperatures rarely reaching double figures! While these unsightly veins on the legs can be conveniently covered up during the winter, the colder season can intensify the condition and amplify some of the problems associated with varicose veins.

Excessive central heating

Now’s the time of year when we turn the dial of thermostat up on the central heating. Although according to a report in the Daily Mail, excessive central heating and underfloor heating can trigger varicose vein flare-ups and make the symptoms worse.

Weight gain in the winter

With Christmas and all the extravagance that goes hand in hand with the festive season, followed by cold, wet weather making us reach for the comforts of the fridge, winter can be a time when weight gain tends to creep up on us.
Unfortunately, for those suffering from varicose veins, weight gain can make the condition worse. In fact, obesity is cited as being a major culprit in the development of varicose veins. This is due to the fact that additional pounds of weight can put pressure on the veins, which results in the larger veins in the legs bulging out more noticeably as the blood pools in the veins.

Lack of exercise

While the warm days of summer and the long, light nights compel many of us to reach for our trainers and embark on exercise regimes, by contrast, the damp, darkness and cold of the winter, makes us want to curl back under the duvet and stay in bed!
This lack of exercise in the winter can have negative consequences on those suffering from varicose veins, as the blood isn’t sufficiently pumped around the body.

In short, adopting a healthy lifestyle, which combines a healthy, well-balanced diet with regular exercise helps us maintain a healthy weight, thus reducing the risk of varicose veins becoming worse due to weight gain.

Some effective exercises to help relieve symptoms caused by varicose veins and prevent the condition from getting worse are leg lifts, calf raises, bicycle legs and side lunges. It is important to note that all of these exercises can be carried out indoors from the convenience of your own living room, giving you no excuse not to exercise, regardless of the season or what the weather’s doing outside!

If you would like any advice about varicose veins, or require a diagnosis of a vascular condition or information about treatments, get in touch with Daryll Baker, one of the UK’s leading vascular consultants.


Daryll Baker is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital London and Clinical Lead for North Central Region Vascular Services.

He read Medicine at Oxford University and trained in Vascular Surgery in Nottingham, London and Edinburgh. He obtained his research PhD from the University of Wales.


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