Top 10 Safest and Effective Exercises for Varicose Veins Relief

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Sangeeta Sharma, last updated on 1 December 2023
Top 10 Safest and Effective Exercises for Varicose Veins Relief

We all know that exercise is pivotal in ensuring a fulfilling and robust lifestyle. However, the impact of exercise on varicose veins often goes unnoticed. 

Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can substantially decrease the likelihood of developing varicose veins. Simply changing the sitting or standing position improves blood circulation, reducing the swelling of veins in your legs. 

Continue reading to know the varicose vein exercise, what to avoid and safe tips to practice exercise during varicose veins.

What are Varicose Veins?

As blood circulates through our body, veins transport blood back to the heart and lungs. Valves act as gatekeepers, preventing the blood from flowing in the wrong direction against gravity. 

However, in the case of venous insufficiency, where these valves weaken due to the natural wear and tear over time, blood may accumulate in the veins. This pooling can lead to the veins bulging and rising closer to the skin, giving rise to the condition known as varicose veins.

The risk of developing varicose veins rises with age, inactivity, prolonged sitting or standing, and obesity. In some cases,  pregnancy may trigger it.

If left untreated, this condition can lead to further complications. Natural remedies such as exercise can effectively alleviate pain, emphasising the need for prompt action in treatment.

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Role of Exercise in Varicose Veins

Taking short breaks to move around throughout the day can prevent extended periods of sitting or standing. These are the major risk factors for varicose veins. The role of exercise for varicose veins include:

  1. Improved Blood Circulation: Regular exercise helps promote better blood flow throughout the body. It prevents blood from pooling in veins and reduces the likelihood of varicose veins.

  2. Stronger Leg Muscles: Engaging in exercises that target leg muscles, such as walking or cycling. It helps support vein health by assisting blood circulation and reducing pressure on the veins.

  3. Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion: Stretching and yoga can improve flexibility, preventing leg stiffness and promoting overall vascular health.

  4. Overall Cardiovascular Health: Exercise contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of conditions that can lead to varicose veins, such as venous insufficiency.

Top 10 Exercises for Varicose Veins

Different varicose exercises exist to reduce the severity of the condition. It should be noted that exercise do not treat the condition but it can prevent from aggravating the symptoms. One can go for low impact exercises and yoga like:  

  1. Walking: Simple yet effective, walking engages calf muscles, aiding blood circulation from the legs to the heart. Just 30 to 45 minutes of walking reduces pressure in veins, alleviating symptoms and preventing varicose veins by promoting healthy blood flow.

  2. Swimming: It is a low-impact exercise. Swimming supports blood circulation without putting excessive pressure on veins. It tones leg muscles and improves cardiovascular health.

  3. Cycling: Pedaling engages leg muscles, acting like a natural pump to push blood upward. It strengthens muscles and improves circulation, reducing the appearance and discomfort of varicose veins stages.

  4. Elevated Leg Raises: Lying on your back and elevating your legs against gravity enhances blood flow back to the heart, reducing strain on veins. This exercise helps reduce swelling associated with varicose veins.

  5. Calf Raises: Rising onto the balls of your feet repeatedly strengthens calf muscles, aiding blood circulation. This exercise helps reduce blood pooling in veins, thus mitigating varicose vein symptoms.

  6. Bicycling in the Air: Lying on your back and mimicking cycling movements in the air engages leg muscles, improving blood circulation. This exercise reduces swelling and discomfort associated with varicose veins.

  7. Ankle Flexes: Pointing and flexing your feet repeatedly while sitting or lying down stimulates blood circulation. It stops blood pooling in the lower limbs, reducing varicose vein discomfort.

  8. Tadasana (Mountain Pose): It is a simple yet powerful yoga asana for varicose veins. It can be done daily at any time of the day. This pose engages all the muscles, effectively releasing stress from your limbs. To practice Tadasana, follow these steps: 

    1. Stand with feet slightly apart, arms relaxed by sides.

    2. Inhale, raise arms above head, palms together.

    3. Lift heels, balancing on toes while stretching.

    4. Lower heels and arms, repeating for comfort.

  1. Salabhasana (Locust Pose): This asana enhances blood flow throughout the body, particularly in the lower region. It provides relief from the swelling and throbbing pain associated with varicose veins.
    Additionally, this pose activates glands and abdominal organs, promoting better metabolism and digestion. The steps of the asana are: 

    1. Lie on stomach, legs and arms extended.

    2. Inhale, lift legs and upper torso off the floor.

    3. Hold, keeping legs straight and arms forward or under.

    4. Exhale, lower to the floor, relax and repeat.

  1. Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose): It is a yoga pose that enhances blood circulation in the entire body, especially the lower region. In turn, it provides substantial relief for varicose veins. Below is the step-by-step approach to this asana: 

    1. Sit by a wall, and legs extended towards it.

    2. Turn and place your legs up against the wall.

    3. Adjust for comfort, and relax with arms by your sides.

    4. Breathe deeply, and hold the pose for 5-15 minutes.

Exercises to Avoid in Varicose Veins

When it comes to physical activity, making informed choices is crucial, especially for those dealing with varicose veins and the associated discomfort. Understanding which exercises to avoid can help you tailor your workout routine to your specific needs, promoting better vein health.

  1. High-Impact Exercises: Approach high-impact exercises like running and jogging cautiously, as their repetitive impact can increase pressure on varicose veins. Opt for lower-impact alternatives such as brisk walking or swimming to enjoy cardiovascular benefits without straining your veins.

  2. Jumping Exercises: Avoid jumping exercises like intense jumping jacks, as they can worsen blood circulation and increase pressure on the veins. Opt for gentler workouts focusing on low-impact movements for agility and strength without aggravating varicose veins.

  3. High-Intensity Aerobics: While effective for cardiovascular health, high-intensity aerobics can strain varicose veins. Consider low-impact aerobic routines or water aerobics to enjoy similar benefits with less discomfort and potential complications.

  4. Heavy Weightlifting: Steer clear of heavy weightlifting or intense resistance training, as these activities can increase blood pressure suddenly, worsening venous pressure. Choose lighter weights and higher repetitions for your strength training routine.

  5. Squats and Lunges: Modify your leg workout routine by avoiding squats and lunges, which can increase pressure on your leg veins. Opt for alternatives like leg presses or extensions to build strength without exacerbating varicose vein symptoms.

  6. Certain Yoga Poses: Practice yoga with caution, avoiding poses that involve prolonged standing or inverted positions. Opt for poses focusing on gentle stretching, relaxation, and improved blood circulation while steering clear of those that strain leg veins. Read continue to know more about varicose veins treatment in Ayurveda.

Tips to Exercise Safely in Varicose Veins

Ensuring a safe and effective exercise routine is vital for individuals with varicose veins. This would prevent the worsening of the condition. Below are the tips to exercise safely during varicose veins:

  1. Seeking Medical Advice: Consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine, especially with existing varicose veins. They can guide suitable exercises and recommend necessary precautions based on your condition.

  2. Proper Warm-up and Cool-down: Initiate the exercise session with a comprehensive warm-up to prep your muscles and enhance circulation. It minimises the risk of injury. Conclude your workout with cool-down exercises, like stretching, to prevent muscle soreness and increase blood flow. It is beneficial for those with varicose veins.

  3. Use of Compression Stockings: Wear compression stockings to aid in managing the varicose vein during exercise. These specially designed garments apply gentle pressure, improving blood flow and reducing discomfort. Consult a healthcare professional to select the right compression level and size for your needs.

  4. Listening to Your Body: Pay close attention to your body's signals during exercise. If you feel discomfort, pain, or heaviness in your legs, prioritise rest. Overexertion can strain your veins, so prioritise your well-being and comfort.

  5. Choosing the Right Footwear: Opt for comfortable, supportive footwear to reduce strain on your legs and veins during exercise. Properly fitted shoes can enhance overall comfort, contributing to a positive exercise experience.

  6. Gradual Progression: When initiating a new exercise routine or increasing intensity, do it gradually. Sudden, intense activity can elevate venous pressure, so build endurance and strength slowly to be kinder to your veins.

  7. Staying Hydrated: Maintaining proper hydration is particularly crucial for individuals with varicose veins. Dehydration can thicken the blood, potentially worsening vein issues. Ensure adequate water intake before, during, and after your workout.

  8. Maintaining a Healthy Diet: Support vein health with a balanced diet rich in fibre, antioxidants, and essential nutrients. Foods that reduce inflammation and improve blood flow, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, complement your exercise efforts.

Conclusion

When done regularly, exercises play an imperative role in managing varicose veins. It improves blood circulation and strengthens leg muscles, reducing varicose vein symptoms. Additionally, exercise assists in maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the pressure on veins, and minimising the risk of developing new varicose veins.

For more valuable information that paves your way towards better health and life, HexaHealth is the right platform. If you have any queries regarding any condition, talk to an expert now. 

Suggested Reads

Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins (EVLT) Varicose Veins
Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins Stages

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of exercise for varicose veins?

Exercise plays an imperative role in the life of those suffering from varicose veins. Leading a sedentary lifestyle or prolonged sitting/standing increases the risk of varicose veins, especially in older individuals or those with obesity. Varicose vein exercises are beneficial as they:

  1. Enhance blood circulation

  2. Promote an active and healthy lifestyle

  3. Contributes to overall fitness and well-being

What are the safest exercises for varicose veins?

If you are looking for varicose vein physical exercise and can't determine which is the best, then the following list will surely come to your rescue. The safest exercises for varicose veins are:

  1. Walking 

  2. Swimming 

  3. Cycling 

  4. Ankle rotations

What exercise is best for varicose veins?

Depending on the severity of the problems, the best exercise for varicose veins includes:

  1. Bicycling in the air 

  2. Yoga 

  3. Leg raises 

  4. Calf raises

Can exercise help manage varicose veins effectively?

Yes, exercise is one of the best and most effective ways to manage and prevent them. However, one must consult their healthcare provider before starting any form of exercise.

Are there specific exercises to avoid in varicose veins?


Any exercise that puts pressure on the legs and disturbs the blood flow should be strictly avoided by those suffering from varicose veins. These exercises include:

  1. Weight lifting 

  2. Running or jogging 

  3. High impact aerobics 


How do these exercises benefit individuals with varicose veins?

Engaging in exercise is beneficial for individuals with varicose veins, as it:

  1. Enhances blood circulation

  2. Reduce swelling

  3. Alleviates symptoms

  4. Halts the progression or initial development of varicose veins 

Can exercise improve blood circulation and reduce symptoms?

Yes, several exercises for varicose vein treatment play a crucial role in improving blood circulation and providing relief from the symptoms. These symptoms may include pain, discomfort, etc.

Are low-impact exercises recommended for varicose veins?

If you are wondering what exercise is best for varicose veins, the answer is exercises with a low impact. High-impact exercises can put extra pressure on the legs and disturb blood flow.

Do these exercises help prevent the worsening of varicose veins?

Yes, exercise is one of the best ways to prevent the worsening of varicose veins. However, before starting any new exercise, talk to your doctor about the same.

Can exercise alleviate discomfort and swelling caused by varicose veins?

Exercise for varicose veins treatment improves blood circulation and keeps a person fit and healthy. This plays a vital role in alleviating discomfort and controlling pain and swelling.

Are there any precautions to consider before starting these exercises?

Before starting the exercise for varicose veins, one must consider the following precautions:

  1. Warm up before exercise and cool down post-exercise to avoid cramps and injury

  2. Workout in moderation 

  3. Take approval from your doctor

How often and for how long should these exercises be performed?

Aim for 150 minutes of low to moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly, like walking, swimming, or cycling.

  1. Break this into smaller sessions, such as 30 minutes daily, five days a week.

  2. Incorporate strength training exercises like calf raises and chair stands at least twice weekly.

  3. Begin with 10 to 15 repetitions per exercise, gradually increasing intensity and repetitions based on comfort.

References

All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.


  1. Debra Jaliman. Best Exercises for Varicose Veins [Internet]. WebMD. 2022. link
  2. Ballroom Dancing and Varicose Veins | London Vein Centre [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Nov 30].link
  3. 13 Exercise and Varicose Veins Do’s and Don’ts [Internet]. Azura Vascular Care. 2018. link

Updated on : 1 December 2023

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

Author

Sangeeta Sharma

Sangeeta Sharma

BSc. Biochemistry I MSc. Biochemistry (Oxford College Bangalore)

6 Years Experience

She has extensive experience in content and regulatory writing with reputed organisations like Sun Pharmaceuticals and Innodata. Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical conten...View More

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