A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot or other material lodged in your lung artery, according to MayoClinic.com. Usually, blood clots in the lungs result when clots located in deep leg veins break off and travel to the lungs. Blood clots can develop for a variety of reasons including restricted blood flow for extended periods of time, such as when you drive for hours without taking breaks. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes performing leg exercises can reduce risks of developing a pulmonary embolism -- a sometimes life-threatening condition.
Walking can be a beneficial exercise for pulmonary embolism in the lungs, according to MayoClinic.com. Starting a walking program immediately after surgery for a pulmonary embolism can speed up the recovery process and prevent the development of other embolisms. During the initial stages of exercising, walk across the room using your normal gait. As you become stronger, walk down the hall or around the interior of your local shopping mall. Shoot for a goal of walking at a moderately-brisk pace for 30 minutes on at least five days weekly to strengthen your cardiovascular health. Remember to wear well-fitted, comfortable walking shoes to prevent injury and increase your comfort level. Your doctor will provide guidance as to when and how long you should walk.
Doing exercises that keep your ankle flexible will increase blood circulation to the lower legs and help prevent the development of pulmonary embolisms, according to MayoClinic.com. Instead of simply sitting in a chair, use your chair as a base for a seated ankle flex. Lift your right foot from the floor and straighten your knee. Point your toes forward and hold this position five seconds. Release the tension for five seconds, while keeping your leg straight. Pull your toes toward your body and hold this position five seconds. Return to the original position. Relax five seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Strengthen your calf and ankle muscles by doing toe stands as part of your exercises for pulmonary embolism prevention routine. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold onto the back of a firm chair for support, according to the National Institute on Aging. Breathe in slowly. Slowly lift your body up onto your tip toes as far as possible while slowly exhaling. Hold this position for five seconds. Slowly return to the original position. Relax 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times. An alternate version involves lifting your body up and down continuous for 10 times. Do not hold while in the up position. Return to original position. Relax 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise twice.
Lower your risks of developing another pulmonary embolism and/or decrease your current symptoms by strengthening your cardiovascular system with water exercises such as swimming. Swimming is an endurance activity that increases your heart rate for an extended period of time and increases your breathing rate, according to the National Institute on Aging. Start by swimming short lengths, such as across the pool's width. Upon reaching the other side, relax 20 seconds. Swim back to original position. Relax 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise twice.