Vein Facts:

Varicose veins are a sign that there is high pressure in the veins. This is called venous insufficiency or venous hypertension.

The Best Leg Exercises for People with Veins

Written by Dallas Vein Specialists on October 15, 2014

If you have leg varicose veins, you may have questions about exercise. For example, you might wonder, is it safe to exercise? Can exercise help slow the progression of the cause of your varicose veins (reflux)? If you exercise regularly and have varicose veins, you may be curious whether you should tweak your routine.

The truth is, regular exercise keeps your veins and leg muscles strong, and exercise usually improves swelling and discomfort (common symptoms of varicose veins). Exercise can also cause weight loss, which takes some of the pressure off your veins.

Keep in mind that certain exercises are better for leg veins than others. Let’s take a closer look at the exercises you should be doing for your legs.

Woman stretching.
Woman stretching.


If you are slowly easing into an exercise routine, start with a few gentle leg exercises to help circulate blood through your legs. For example, lie on your back, and move your legs like you are riding a bike. Or, while standing, rock your feet back and forth from heel to toe to activate the calf pump. Also, you can stand on a step with your heels hanging over the edge. Let your heels drop below the step to stretch your calves. Repeat these motions 20 to 40 times.

Gentle walking is also a great low-impact activity to stretch and strengthen your calf muscles. The calf muscles comprise the pump that serves to move the blood out of the legs and back to the heart. Set a goal to walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Swimming is another excellent idea.

To mix it up, try riding a stationary bike or elliptical machine to exercise the calves and improve calf pump blood flow. A competitive spin class isn’t necessary; instead, ride at a pace that can be maintained and is comfortable. This improves blood flow without putting pressure on the joints and bones.

Jogging is good for your calf muscles and feet. Run on a synthetic track or grassy surface to avoid too much strain on the joints.


You don’t need to overexert yourself for the sake of your leg veins. As long as you are moderately active and mobile, your legs will thank you. There is no advantage to strenuous running or high-impact exercises, which can cause joint problems. Likewise, strenuous weightlifting will not improve varicose veins.

Remember to consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine, or ask the Dallas Vein Specialists team for more personalized recommendations.

If varicose veins are causing you discomfort or affecting your overall quality of life, why not explore your treatment options? Contact Dallas Vein Specialists for a consultation by calling (214) 221-9222 or by sending us an email.