Ask The Trainer #113 – Training With Health Issues


Hi. I am 20 yrs old. I’m 6.2 ft and weight 120kgs now. I’ve been diagnosed with varicose veins, stage 3. The past 2 yrs I have not been able to go to gym and workout because everyone says it will make my varicose veins worse. This is why I have stopped jogging and going to the gym. I also have a heart condition called SVT which prevents me from running. Please suggest a workout style for me. Also, what workouts should I avoid if I am going to gym? Thank you.



Hi, Yunus. I’m sorry to hear about these issues you’re experiencing. There are many different causes of varicose veins. Among these causes are age, lack of physical activity, occupations that involve standing for long time periods, obesity, genetics, connective tissue abnormalities, and nutritional deficiencies. You’re a young guy so I think we can rule out age. Since I don’t know that much about you, I can’t really say for certain how significant the other possible factors might be.

The first thing worth mentioning is that there is a significant amount of research suggesting inadequate levels of vitamin K may contribute to the manifestation of varicose veins. Insufficient levels of vitamin K may reduce the action of the matrix GLA protein known as MGP, which has been identified as a major contributing factor in the development of varicose veins. Because vitamin K is essential to activate MGP, it stands to reason that a sufficient intake of vitamin K is required to prevent varicose veins.

Type of Vitamin K

There are several types of vitamin K. The two primary types are vitamin K-1, found in green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and kale. Then there is vitamin K-2, which can be obtained by consuming meats and fermented food products like cheese and natto. Both forms of vitamin K offer similar health benefits, but I should mention that vitamin K-2 appears to be more significant for cardiovascular health, due to the fact research has shown it may be more protective against blood vessel calcification, a primary culprit of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

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Since you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, this is especially important in your case. Both vitamin K-1 and vitamin K-2 can also be purchased in supplement form to ensure adequate levels. There are many health food stores and online supplement stores where these can be purchased fairly cheaply. Also, bb sure to check with your doctor before taking these.

Blood Circulation

Lack of blood circulation in your veins can result in pressure buildup. This pressure can cause your veins to bulge and take on a ‘cord like’ appearance. That being said, low impact exercise like walking, bicycling, or using an elliptical exercise machine are all great ways to improve blood circulation and relieve that varicose vein stimulating pressure from your veins.

Increasing blood circulation will also help reduce pain and discomfort associated with blood circulation. Depending on how sensitive your conditions are, you may be able to incorporate some moderate to higher intensity form of exercise like weightlifting. This is something you’ll want to speak to your physician about.

SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia) is a series of rapid heartbeats that begin within or involve the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. SVT can cause the heart to beat very rapidly or erratically. As a result, the heart may beat inefficiently, and the body may receive an inadequate blood supply. There are varying degrees of this condition.

I don’t know where you are on this spectrum so it’s hard to say what your physical exercise limitations are. However, most people with this condition are able to exercise to some degree. So, I’m sure there are some forms of exercise you can tolerate. (However, I implore you to speak to your physician or cardiologist in order to ascertain your personal exercise tolerance and come up with a safe and realistic exercise regimen.)

I wish you all the best of success in achieving your health and fitness goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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