7 leg exercises to help varicose veins

How to do exercises for varicose veins

S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
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24 February 2021

What type of exercise is best for varicose veins?

Varicose veins occur when veins lose elasticity and the valves within the vein malfunction. This causes blood to collect in the veins, whilst the veins themselves enlarge. This is a common problem and is particularly prevalent in pregnant women, older individuals and those carrying extra weight.

Any kind of exercise is beneficial for circulation and varicose veins but, as the problem is most likely to occur on the legs, here are a few exercises you can try that focus on moving this area:

  1. Leg raises
  2. Stand up
  3. Ankle circles
  4. March on the spot
  5. Heel/toe
  6. Knee raises
  7. Step up

Read on to get a step-by-step-guide in doing these exercises.

1. Leg raises

varicose veins exercise - leg raises

  • Keep one foot on the ground and raise the other leg until it is straight out in front of you and parallel with the floor.
  • Point your toes up to the ceiling and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Lower your leg to the ground and then repeat on the other side.

2. Stand up

varicose veins exercise - stand up

  • Get up out of your chair without pushing your body up with your arms.
  • Keep your arms out in front, using your feet to push your body up.
  • Lower back down onto the chair and repeat 5-10 times.

3. Ankle circles

varicose veins exercise - ankle circles

  • Put your right foot out in front and draw some circles in a clockwise direction with your toes for five seconds.
  • Change the direction of your toe circles, continue for five seconds and then lower your foot to the ground.
  • Repeat on the other side.

4. March on spot

varicose veins exercise - march on spot

  • March on the spot, bringing your knees up high.
  • Swing the arm opposite to the knee being lifted until you establish a rhythm.
  • Keep this going for a minute.

5. Heel/toe

varicose veins exercise - heel toe

  • Put your right heel out in front with toes pointing towards the sky.
  • Move your leg behind you, so that the toes are now pointing towards the ground.
  • Repeat back and forth for 10 seconds then switch to the opposite side.

6. Knee raises

varicose veins exercise - knee raises

  • Stand with your legs hip-width apart and your arms out in a 'T' shape.
  • Lower the right arm to the left knee, bringing the knee up to meet the elbow at the same time. Try to keep your back as straight as possible as you do this.
  • Put the arms back out to the side and then lower the left elbow to the right knee.
  • Repeat 5 times for each side.

7. Step up

varicose veins exercise - step up

  • Place a chair in front of your body, making sure it is steady.
  • Lift your right foot until it is flat on the chair, pause, and then lower the foot to the ground again.
  • Repeat on the left side and continue these movements for 30 seconds.
  • Keep movements steady to maintain your balance.

How to do leg exercises for varicose veins – a summary

There are many exercises that can help varicose veins in the legs, including ankle circles, marching on the spot and heel/toe movements. Give some of these a try on a regular basis for improvements to show.

After you have completed the seven exercises above, you could shake out the body to finish up, or repeat another round if you prefer.

For more advice on exercise and varicose veins, have a look at my blog on 'The 5 best exercises to prevent varicose veins'.

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