10 Best Exercises for Varicose Veins

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Exercise safely

Exercise is a great way to maintain your physical and mental health. Incorporating some form of movement into your daily routine can do wonders for your vascular health and overall well-being. However, certain exercises can place a lot of pressure on your legs, causing pain and heaviness, especially if you have varicose veins.   If you have varicose veins, there are many low-impact exercises that can provide vein-healthy benefits such as improved circulation, maintaining a healthy weight, and strengthening your leg muscles.

Even something as simple as walking boasts some incredible benefits. So don’t let varicose veins keep you from getting that daily health boost you need. If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as fatigue and pain from varicose veins, it is important to consult a vein specialist to seek treatment.  If you are unsure about starting an exercise regime, consider scheduling a consultation with one of our vein specialists.


Here are the best exercises to do that will work with your varicose veins, not against them, and help you keep your health on track.

Exercising With Varicose Veins

Did you know that one of the leading causes of varicose veins is prolonged periods of sitting or standing?

Exercise not only improves the circulation in your body helping those who suffer from varicose veins, but it also helps reduce the chances of developing varicose veins to begin with.

No matter what kind of exercise you choose to take up, it’s important to allow your legs to rest after a workout. Giving your body time to cool down is essential as it allows your heart rate to come back down to its resting state, encouraging steady blood flow.

If you’ve got varicose veins, you may be concerned you’ll make your already painful veins feel much worse.

However, incorporating some form of exercise into your daily life is crucial to not only your vein health but also your cardiovascular health and your entire body’s health overall.

Even something as simple as walking boasts some seriously incredible benefits. So don’t let varicose veins keep you from getting that daily health boost you need.

Here are the best exercises to do that will work with your varicose veins, not against them, and help you keep your health on track.

Exercise #1: Walking

The benefits of walking include:

  • Improves blood glucose and blood pressure levels
  • Boosts blood circulation
  • Strengthens your bones
  • Lowers pain from vein disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and arthritis

Walking is a form of low-impact workout, especially good for people who suffer from varicose veins,

By strengthening your calf muscles, you are aiding in circulation, which is only beneficial to those with varicose veins.

Try to walk for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. If you can speed up your walking pace, that is great too. Brisk walking raises your heart rate without being risky and helps you burn more calories.

For more helpful exercise tips like this, book a consultation to meet with one of our vein specialists.

Exercise #2: Biking or Elliptical

Hopping on a bike or an elliptical is another great option for varicose vein sufferers. These exercise machines are low-impact like walking is, and aid even more in building your calf muscles that help with the blood flow through your legs, as well as the rest of your body.

These exercises can be enjoyed without the risk of placing additional stress on your body.

The Best Leg Exercises for Varicose Veins

Exercise #3: Bicycle Legs

leg exercsie

For this exercise, it will be almost like you’re riding a bicycle while lying on the floor.

  1. Lay down on your back on a mat or the floor, and raise your legs in the air, bending them at the knee to make a 90-degree angle
  2. Slowly kick your right leg out, while keeping your left leg bent
  3. Return your right leg to the starting position and switch
  4. Keep this fluid motion going

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can incorporate your arms (and your abdominals) to take this workout one step further. Simply crunch up and tap your right elbow to your bent left knee, then switch arms as you switch your legs. Opposite knee to opposite elbow.

Exercise #4: Kneeling Leg Lifts

This is another workout you can do at home while you’re watching TV and requires no equipment.

  • Get down on all fours
  • Lift one leg up and extend outward, making an ‘L’ shape
  • Hold for a few seconds
  • Lower and repeat
  • Do 10 times on each leg, rest, and do another round

Exercise #5: Calf Raises

As mentioned above, building the strength of your calf muscles aids a great deal in improving your body’s blood circulation, and calf raises are a fabulous way to do that.

  1. Stand up straight, legs parallel
  2. Rise up onto your tiptoes
  3. Slowly lower back down

Do this for as many reps as you feel comfortable.

Exercise #6: Thigh Raises

This is something you can do while watching TV or hanging around the house. All you need is a chair.

  • Sit down in the chair
  • Stand up
  • Repeat 10-15 times, rest and do another round

Exercise #7: Side Leg Lifts

  1. Lay on your right side, legs stacked on top of each other
  2. Slowly lift your left leg up in the air, hold for a moment, and bring back down
  3. Do this a number of times, and then switch to the other side.
  4. Lay on your left side, and again, stack your legs
  5. Slowly lift your right leg, hold, and bring back down

This exercise works not only your legs but also your obliques — a nice two-for-one deal.

Exercise #8: Ankle Rolls

If you’re stuck sitting for a large part of the day, don’t worry — you can still get some exercises in that will help your circulation. Here’s a great one to do at your desk.

  • Keep your heels on the ground but lift the rest of your feet
  • Roll your feet clockwise for 15 seconds
  • Roll your feet counterclockwise for 15 seconds
  • Rest and do another round

Exercise #9: Rocking

Similar to the calf raises with one extra step, this workout will also double in helping your balance.

  1. Stand up straight with your heels together, toes pointed out
  2. Rise up on your tiptoes
  3. Slowly lower back down
  4. Rock back to your heels, toes off the ground
  5. Return to start, and repeat

Exercise #10: Toe Pull-Back

Sit in a chair to do this quick and easy exercise.

  • Keep the heel on the floor and pull your toes back towards your body
  • Do this 15 times, rest, and do another round

Exercises that Might Cause Stress to Your Veins

Depending on the severity of your varicose veins, it is better to err on the safe side and refrain from doing the following exercises.


Though running boasts some incredible cardiovascular benefits, along with the fact that it really gets your blood pumping and circulation on high, running can wreak serious havoc on those who have varicose veins.

Running puts a great deal of strain and pressure on your legs as they constantly pound on the treadmill or ground.

However, if your vein issues are not extreme, you can opt for a slow jog on grass or another soft surface that helps cut back on the negative effects of high-impact treadmill or concrete running.


Weightlifting has risen to the top of the exercise scene recently as a popular workout that offers great benefits. Some of those, according to Greatist include:

  • Boosts metabolism
  • Prevents injury
  • Increases bone strength

Keep in mind that weightlifting is a strenuous exercise that puts a lot of stress on your veins’ circulation, and can even cause your vein issues to get worse.

If you feel that you just can’t survive without weightlifting, then ensure that you have proper form, and adjust your regular routine for a more vein-problem-friendly one.

Here are three major things to do if you weightlift with varicose veins:

  1. Swap out the heavyweights for lighter ones
  2. Don’t forget to exhale as you lift
  3. Wear compression socks during and after lifting

Vein Specialists Can Help With Safe Exercise Routines

Exercising with varicose veins is not only possible, in most cases, it can be highly beneficial for venous insufficiency. Make sure you choose your workouts carefully according to your physical capacity.

However, before embarking on any workout regimens, consult with a vein specialist to ensure you won’t end up causing additional damage to your veins.

Interested in reading more about how exercise can help with your vein health? Explore our collection of exercise topics.

Learn about all minimally-invasive vein treatment options.

Medically Reviewed By:

Yan Katsnelson 2 M drive 1 1

Dr. Yan Katsnelson is a philanthropist, business owner, and highly skilled cardiac surgeon. He is the Founder and CEO of USA Vein Clinics, which is part of USA Clinics Group, the parent company of USA Fibroid Centers, USA Vascular Centers, and USA Oncology Centers, with more than 100 facilities nationwide. Dr. Yan has established himself as a strong advocate for accessibility and affordability of the most advanced medical care close to home. His mission is to create a positive experience for each patient with compassionate, personalized, and expert care.

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