7 Best And Safest Exercises to Relieve Varicose Vein Symptoms

Exercise is an important part of any varicose veins treatment plan, but you need to know what exercises are safe for your particular case. Learn these seven best and safest leg exercises to relieve varicose vein symptoms in your legs.
Dr. Samir Damani
October 19, 2023

Key takeaways

  • Regular exercise can help alleviate varicose vein symptoms.
  • Low-impact exercises like walking and swimming are gentle on the legs.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine.

Varicose veins are experienced by millions of people worldwide. Apart from causing unsightly and embarrassing problems, it can also cause pain, throbbing, swelling, and cramps. In addition, varicose veins can lead to blood clots or conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). 

Various factors contribute to varicose veins, including genetics, obesity, pregnancy, and venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is one condition that can lead to varicose veins and other venous diseases, such as spider veins, which occur when the valves in your veins don't work correctly and causes blood to pool in your legs, causing the vein to enlarge.

If you have varicose veins or related vein conditions, what exercises are safe? In this blog post, we will discuss seven of the best and safest leg exercises to do for varicose veins. We will also discuss exercises you should avoid, as they can aggravate varicose veins.

Is exercise good for varicose veins?

Legs with varicose veins

Yes! Exercise is good for varicose veins and can prevent them from getting worse. While exercise may not cure varicose veins, it is key to helping prevent venous insufficiency. In addition, it helps improve blood circulation, allowing blood to flow throughout the body more effectively and strengthening the valves in your veins.

How does exercise help varicose veins?

A woman who managed to lose weight

Leg exercises are one of the most important things you can do to prevent and treat varicose veins. But how exactly can exercise help the varicose veins? Keep reading to learn more:

  • Exercise can help relieve symptoms of a varicose vein including pain, heaviness, aching, cramping, and restless legs.
  • Exercise can improve your blood circulation and overall vein health. One of the leading causes of varicose veins is poor circulation. Exercise can help increase circulation and make blood flow throughout your body smoothly, which can help prevent blood pooling in the legs and can also help reduce the risk of blood clots.
  • Exercise helps strengthen leg muscles. When the muscles in your legs are weak, they can't support your blood vessels effectively. Exercise helps strengthen the leg muscles, providing better support for your blood vessels and helping reduce the risk of them getting worse.
  • Exercise will help you lose weight. Many people already know that being overweight or obese is another factor that can contribute to the development of varicose veins. Exercise can help you lose weight, reduce pressure on your blood vessels and help lower your risk of developing varicose veins.

How long should you exercise with varicose veins?

While staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential, you must be careful not to overdo it. Here are some general guidelines for exercising with the condition:

  • Start slowly for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Be sure to warm up before starting your workout.
  • Choose low-impact activities that don't put too much strain on your legs.
  • Avoid any activities that may put additional stress on the veins.
  • Wear supportive footwear and clothing to help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Listen to your body. If you start to feel any pain or discomfort, stop exercising and get some rest.

If you have concerns about exercising with varicose veins, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. They can help you create a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to your needs, which will help ensure that you are safe while exercising and getting the most out of your workout.

What are the best and safest physical exercises to relieve symptoms of varicose veins in the legs?

The best and safest physical exercises to relieve symptoms of varicose veins in the legs are those that put minimal stress on the veins. Some of the best practices include:

1. Walking

Two women doing walking exercises

Walking is an excellent way to keep the blood flowing in your legs, helps maintain healthy blood pressure, and to reduce the pain and swelling associated with varicose veins. It is also a low-impact exercise, so it won't put too much strain on your legs. Start by walking for 10-15 minutes a day, gradually increasing your time as you are able.

2. Stationary bike & elliptical machine

Both of these exercises are great for helping tone the calf muscles in the legs and increase circulation which keeps blood flowing smoothly. Stationary bicycles and elliptical exercises are also effective in reducing inflammation and pain caused by varicose veins. Start with 10-15 minutes on each machine and work your way up to longer periods of time as you can afford.

3. Stretching

A woman doing stretching exercises in front of the tv

Stretching is essential for everyone, but it is especially beneficial for those with varicose veins because stretching helps improve circulation and flexibility, which can help reduce the symptoms of varicose veins.

4. Leg lifts

Leg lifts are another great way to reduce the symptoms of varicose veins. Start by lying on your back with your legs straight. Then, lift one leg into the air and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.

5. Yoga

A woman is doing a simple yoga pose

Yoga is another excellent way to improve circulation and flexibility, which can help reduce the pain and discomfort of varicose veins. Many different yoga poses can help stretch and strengthen your legs. Start with some simple poses and work up to more challenging ones as you are able.

6. Rocking the feet

Rocking your feet can also help reduce the pain and discomfort of the varicose vein. Start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Then, rock your feet back and forth for 10-15 minutes.

7. Swimming

A woman is doing swimming exercise

Swimming is an excellent option for those looking for safe and practical exercises to relieve symptoms of varicose veins. The water provides gentle resistance, which helps tone and strengthen the calf muscles while promoting better circulation, keeping blood flowing smoothly.

In addition to physical exercise, you can do several other things to help relieve symptoms of varicose veins in the legs. These include wearing compression stockings, elevating your legs, and avoiding prolonged standing or sitting.

Exercises you should avoid to prevent varicose veins from getting worse

You can do several things to prevent the varicose vein from getting worse. One of the most important is to avoid exercises that put undue strain on your legs. Here are some of the activities to avoid if you have a varicose vein:

  • Running or jogging
  • Squats
  • Weightlifting
  • High-impact aerobics
  • Sit-ups
  • Cycling

Can varicose veins be cured with exercise?

Unfortunately, exercise cannot cure varicose veins. So, although exercise can't eliminate varicose veins, a regular exercise routine can help improve the symptoms associated with varicose veins and prevent the condition from getting worse. In addition, exercise can help increase blood flow throughout the body, which can help reduce the risk of developing varicose veins and maintain overall vein health.

If your varicose veins are severe, you may need more than exercise to get rid of them. In this case, you should talk to your doctor about your vein treatment options.

How to cure varicose veins permanently?

Radiofrequency ablation

Conventional surgery may be the best option for you if you are looking for a permanent solution to your varicose veins. The most common conventional surgery for varicose veins is vein ligation and stripping. 

However, vein ligation and stripping are invasive procedures that may require hospitalization and are typically for severe cases of varicose veins. The process involves tying off the vein above and below the varicose vein and then removing the entire length of the vein. The conventional surgical procedure has been proven to eliminate varicose veins in the legs.

However, if you want to avoid surgery and are looking for a minimally-invasive procedure, then radiofrequency and laser ablation have been shown to be just as effective as stripping treatment methods. In addition to being equally effective, radiofrequency and laser ablation offer advantages over conventional stripping surgery in terms of reduced postoperative pain and shorter recovery.

If you are concerned about your varicose veins and want to explore vein treatment options, speak to your doctor. They will be able to recommend the best option for you based on the severity of your condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do heavy leg exercises after varicose veins surgery?

The answer to this question depends on what procedure was performed. For example, if you had a simple outpatient procedure, such as sclerotherapy or laser ablation, you could typically resume your exercise routine within a few days. However, if you had a more invasive procedure, such as surgery to remove varicose veins, you will likely need to avoid strenuous activity for several weeks.

Can you exercise with varicose veins during pregnancy?

Exercise is essential for pregnant women, but if you have varicose veins, you may wonder if it's safe to continue working out. The good news is yes. Pregnancy is an excellent time to stay active and exercise regularly. However, avoiding high-impact activities that can strain your blood vessels may be recommended. Speak with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

When do varicose veins become dangerous?

Varicose veins are most dangerous when they cause blood clots. If a clot forms in a varicose vein, it can break free and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a potentially fatal condition called pulmonary embolism. Even if a clot doesn't travel to the lungs, it can still cause severe problems if it blocks blood flow in the legs, leading to pain, swelling, and ulcers.


The seven exercises discussed above are a great place to start if you're looking for safe and effective leg exercises to help with your varicose or spider veins symptoms. 

But if you are interested in exploring treatments beyond at-home care and lifestyle changes, our team at iThriveVeins can help. We offer a variety of minimally-invasive options that can eliminate your symptoms and improve the appearance of your legs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

The bottom line


Free vein screening

If you are suffering with strange and unusual symptoms such as burning, itchy, or heavy legs, we might be able to help you.

Schedule today

Free Vein Screening

If you are suffering with strange and unusual symptoms such as burning, itchy, or heavy legs, we might be able to help you.

Contact Us.

Ready to improve your vein health?

Starting your journey towards healthier, more comfortable legs is just a click away. Fill out your details, and our team will get back to you.

La Jolla/UTC

+1 (858) 800-2480
9850 Genesee Ave. Suite 650 La Jolla CA 92037

National City

+1 (858) 800-2480
655 Euclid Avenue Suite 401 National City CA. 91950
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again.