Exercising after a Blood Clot


Blood clots are a serious health concern and can affect men and women of all ages. Deep venous thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when a blood clot forms deep within a vein in a certain part of the body. Although this condition most commonly affects the biggest veins in the lower leg and thigh, the clot can sometimes break off and travel to the heart, brain, lungs, or other area. Certain factors increase one's risk for developing blood clot, including bed rest or sitting in a position for an extended amount of time, such as plane travel.

Signs and Symptoms

DVTS most commonly occur in adults over 60. However, it's possible for clots to form in much younger people as well. This medical problem frequently affects the lower leg and thigh on one side of the body. Some signs and symptoms of a DVT include:

  • Leg pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Changes in skin color, such as increased redness
  • Skin that feels warm when touched

According to MedlinePlus, DVTs can disappear but it's not uncommon for them to return. Aside from having pain and changes in skin color, some people may suffer from long-term pain in the affected area. While symptoms can appear right away in some people, they may not develop for a year or more in others.


A sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for developing blood clots. One way to reduce your risk of suffering from blood clots (not to mention improve your overall health) is to participate in regular exercise. This doesn't necessarily mean going for long runs in the morning or spending an hour on the stationary bike every day of the week. According to webmd.com, the goal is to reach and sustain a target heart rate of around 50 to 70 percent of one's maximum heart rate. The same source suggests that for heart health, it's essential to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (including walking) on most days of the week.

Blood Clots and Workouts

There's no doubt that blood clots are a serious medical problem. However, even those who suffer from blood clots can (and should) try to work out as routinely as possible. It's understandable that anyone with a DVT will probably be wary about moving around, especially in the beginning. However, Investigators Against ThromboEmbolism (INATE) offers a few helpful tips for moving around with a DVT. This includes walking between 650 yards and 7.5 miles daily after getting clearance from a doctor and beginning walking exercise within 24 hours of initially receiving treatment (this applies to individuals with an uncomplicated DVT).

Treatment and Management

Initially, treatment and management may involve a hospital stay, especially if the clot is very large or has already broken off. After this first phase of treatment, many patients benefit from anti embolism socks. These socks provide pressure to improve blood circulation while relieving pain and energizing the legs. Styles vary from thigh-high compression stockings to open-toe knee-high stockings for both men and women. There are even socks to assist those recovering from surgery or who have extended bed rest orders.

Exercising is a great way to promote blood flow and healing during and after a blood clot. Wearing compression socks offers improved circulation. It's important to check with a physician before exercising, especially in the earlier stages after the initial diagnosis.

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