As we emerge from our Winter slumber, it’s time to shed those layers and place a priority on your health this Spring. Here are 5 simple ways to keep veins and arteries healthy.

1. Play with the children or walk the dog

Exercise, such as walking, biking and skiing promotes healthy blood flow and strong veins throughout the body. Play outside with the family or take a brisk walk to the park or along the beach or walk the dog. These are all great ways to get some exercise and fresh air.

2. Eat less salt, sugar and fat

Traditional cookbooks seem to be full of solid, hearty, food to help comfort us through the winter. But being indoors more doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of time eating, or eating foods that are unhealthy. Try making your porridge with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk or water, and don’t add sugar or salt. Add a few dried apricots, some raisins, a sliced banana or other fruit for extra flavor. To beat the hunger pangs before dinner, try slicing fresh, raw peeled swede and carrots as crunchy snacks; delicious.

3. Put your feet up

Do you work at a computer all day? Do you commute? Do you stand or sit for hours at a time? Make time to literally put your feet up. Elevating your legs at the end of the day is a simple way to look after your vein health, and give yourself a few minutes of peace to relax and reflect on the day.

4. It’s a perfect time to quit

Smoking that is. Don’t wait for that New Year resolution! Studies have shown that high blood pressure associated with smoking can cause varicose veins. Quitting smoking instantly lowers your blood pressure. Less pressure on those veins lowers your risk of varicose veins.

5. Sleep well

Generally, we’re not sleeping as much as we should so use the long winter nights to catch up. A good night’s sleep is important for health and wellbeing and it’s perfectly natural to want to hibernate when the weather turns cold.

Now that the warmth of spring has arrived, throw off the cloak of winter and fully embrace the warmer weather with a new outlook on health!