One study in particular, conducted by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, looked at a focus group of 36 men with sedentary lifestyles who ranged in weight from being “lean” to “obese.” This study aimed to measure the levels of a chemical in the body that dissolves blood clots, called tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA). At the beginning of the study, the obese men had on average 30 percent lower levels of this chemical in their bodies than lean men, meaning that they were at a significantly higher risk of developing a clot. However, throughout the course of the study, as the men developed more active lifestyle habits (in this case, walking 45 minutes a day, five days a week), the levels of t-PA in the obese men increased about 50 percent, putting them on equal risk footing with the lean men in the study.
Just as with this study, research has shown over and over that exercise - and performing certain specific exercises -- can lower your risk of developing blood clots, whether you lead an active day-to-day life or are confined for long hours to a desk, are bedridden or have limited mobility as a result of chronic disease, injury or other factors.
Among the exercises recommended for minimizing clot risk:
Walking: Walking for 30-45 minutes a day, five days a week, can lower your risk of developing a life-threatening blood clot significantly. If you have been hospitalized and feel well enough, you should ask your nurse if you can take walks around the hospital ward or move from your bed to cross the room and spend some time in a chair. If you’re on a long flight or car trip, you should take a break every two hours or so to stretch your legs and get your circulation going.