Varicose veins also referred to as varicoses or varicosities are the enlarged, dilated veins filled with blood. These painful veins typically appear twisted, raised, and swollen that have a red or bluish-purple color.

These happen because incompetent valves allow the blood to flow in the opposite direction to pool up. To prevent such conditions, regular physical activity such as exercising can help. However, if the condition is severe, regular exercise should help in keeping the condition at the check and also prevents further progressing of the condition.

People suffering from this condition usually have swollen legs because of improper blood circulation; exercising can help improve the blood circulation and help lessen these symptoms. In this article, we will discuss the different types of exercises that can be done to prevent varicose veins from developing and further progressing.

What Actually are Varicose Veins:

Varicose veins usually appear as bulging, blue-colored cords beneath the skin that are formed in the feet and legs. Some of these cords are visible to the naked eye, such swollen and bulged veins are surrounded by patches of capillaries that are termed as spider veins.

For some people, it is just a cosmetic concern, but for others, it causes pain and discomfort and may lead to severe problems.

How are Varicose Veins Caused?

Varicose veins are caused mainly because of the blood getting pooled up without flowing upwards. Biologically speaking, the oxygenated blood (blood which has oxygen in it) is carried by the arteries from the heart to the different parts of the body, and the deoxygenated blood (blood which has carbon dioxide) is taken by the veins from different parts of the body to the heart.

The blood from the upper part of the body is quite easy for the veins to carry from different parts of the body to the heart because of the gravity, but in the lower part of the body, the blood should be pushed against the gravity to the heart. For this, the veins take the support of the surrounding muscles and a network of one-way valves. The one-way cup-shaped valves only allow blood to flow to the heart, the muscles help in pushing the blood, and these valves open up alternately and will enable the blood to flow upwards.

In some type of faulty veins, these valves do not open properly, allowing the blood to pool in the vein. The blood begins to accumulate, causing the vein to enlarge and bulge, which further becomes varicose. The superficial veins are more prone to varicose than the deeper veins because of less muscle support for the former ones, and hence the bulging is visible.

Increased pressure on the legs or abdomen can lead to varicose veins. This mainly happens in pregnancy and to obese persons.

Effective and Simple Exercises to Clear Varicose Veins:

Here we listed down a few easy to perform exercises to prevent varicose veins from becoming severe. One thing to remember is that the changes will surely not be visible from day one, and sometimes, the appearing of the varicose veins may not go permanently but will be reduced significantly, which entirely depends upon how long the problem has been there. Regular exercise is necessary to reduce the problem of varicose veins.

1. Walking:

  • Walking is considered one of the best exercises for the all-round development of the body. Walking is beneficial and usually safe for all ages.
  • Walking improves the blood circulation, and moreover, when you walk, the muscles in your legs help push the blood through the veins, which decreases the pressure on the varicose veins.

How to Perform:

  • Go for an early walk daily for at least 45 minutes, preferably in a place where there is a lot of greenery so that you get fresh oxygen.
  • If you are an aged person, consider walking for 15 minutes three times a day. Because continuous walking may cause faintness, dizziness, and problems in the joints.

2. Bicycling:

  • Bicycling is also one of the exercises that can help in reducing varicose veins. Although this is a low-impact exercise, this can be done by those who want to skip walking.
  • Like walking, bicycling increases blood circulation while protecting the joints. Regular cycling can strengthen the calf muscles and can promote healthy blood flow from the veins to the heart.

How to Perform:

  • Bicycling can be done both on a traditional cycle or on a stationary one. Do cycling for at least 15-30 minutes per day to experience any visible results.
  • This exercise is recommended only for mid-aged people. Old aged people can find difficulty in cycling as it may increase pressure on the heart.

3. Buerger Allen Exercises:

  • This is considered as one of the oldest forms of exercise practiced to clear varicose veins.
  • This exercise helps in controlling the blood flow to the lower part of the body, and allows the pooled up blood, flow to the heart by gravity.

How to Perform:

  • Lie on the ground and slowly raise your legs to 45 degrees angle.
  • Hold this position for 60-120 seconds.
  • Next, sit up and place your legs on the ground till the blood flows downwards.
  • Lie down horizontally for several minutes and then repeat the process for 10-12 times a day.

4. Calf Raises:

  • This exercise strengthens the calf muscles and prevents the formation of new varicose veins and helps in reducing the existing ones.
  • These are easy and can be performed anywhere and at any point in time. Enough care should be taken while performing this exercise as it requires the balancing of the whole body.

How to Perform:

  • Initially, stand on your legs normally.
  • Now, slowly lift your heels and try standing on your toes.
  • Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
  • Next, put your heels down and rest for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the process for 15-20 times a day.

5. Air Cycling:

  • Cycling in the air is one of the effective exercises in reducing varicose veins.
  • This exercise is similar to cycling. Instead, it has to be done in the air. Due to which the blood in the legs starts flowing back to the heart.
  • The calf muscles also get strengthened, which aids the blood circulation in the varicose veins.

How to Perform:

  • First, lie on the ground with your legs raised vertically.
  • Start cycling with one leg until you start experiencing pain. Then start cycling with the other leg.
  • Do this alternatively for at least 25-30 times in 3 sets daily for effectiveness.

6. Lunges:

  • Lunges have several health benefits, one of which is reducing varicose veins.
  • This exercise strengthens the calf muscles, thereby increasing the blood flow from the varicose veins to the heart.
  • This exercise should not be performed by old aged people and pregnant women.

How to Perform:

  • Firstly, stand on your legs parted. Next, place one leg forward and bend the knee.
  • Make sure that the leg behind is straight. Now, slowly raise your body.
  • Next, change the leg position and continue to do 10-15 times.
  • Perform this exercise in 3 sets. To increase the level of difficulty, carry weights in your hands.

7. Ankle Rotation:

  • Ankle rotation is one of the most straightforward exercises to perform.
  • This exercise can be done by all aged groups. Ankle rotation helps in improving blood circulation. By rotating the ankle, the calf muscles will tighten up and thereby helps the surrounding veins in pushing the blood effectively.

How to Perform:

  • Sit on a chair and raise the leg horizontally.
  • Next, rotate the ankle first in the clockwise direction for 20 times and then rotate it in the anti-clockwise direction.
  • Change the leg and repeat the process.
  • Perform this exercise in 5 sets, and you can experience the desired results.

8. Swimming:

  • Swimming is considered to be one of the best exercises for the body.
  • Swimming is the only exercise wherein the whole body performs physical activity.
  • There are different styles of swimming; we need to choose such types where the physical activity for legs is more, to strengthen the calf muscles.

How to Perform:

  • Generally, frog style swimming should be chosen.
  • In this style of swimming, we need to push the water with the legs very hard to move forward.
  • Swim for at least 45 minutes daily to see any desired results.

9. Mountain Climbers:

  • This exercise is the most effective one, but it has to be performed only in the presence of some experts or trainers.
  • This exercise helps to tighten the calf muscles, which allows the surrounding veins to push the blood to the heart.

How to Perform:

  • Start the exercise in the plank position.
  • Next, pull one knee up to your chest and then return.
  • Perform the same with the other leg. Do this continuously for 30 times.
  • Perform this in 3 sets. This exercise will totally strengthen the muscle right from the hip to the toe, which helps in the smooth circulation of blood from the legs to the heart.

10. Leg Lifts:

  • Leg lifting exercise is one of the easiest exercises to perform at home.
  • This exercise allows the pooled up blood in the legs to flow to the heart through gravity.

How to Perform:

  • Take a mat, lie on it with your legs straight and hands wide open.
  • Now, slowly raise one leg upwards, until it is at 90 degrees to your body.
  • Stay in this position for 15-20 seconds.
  • Then, slowly bring back the leg to a normal position and repeat the same process with the other one.
  • Continue this process for 15 times regularly to experience good results.

11. Flexing Exercise

  • This exercise can be performed anytime and anywhere.
  • If you experience sudden pain due to varicose veins, this flexing exercise can relax your calf muscles and ease your pain.

How to Perform:

  • Take a chair and sit in a normal position.
  • Raise both the legs horizontally and bend one leg towards the body.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds till you feel strain on the calf, and change the leg.
  • Then, come back to normal position and rest for 30 seconds.
  • Continue this exercise for 10-15 times and observe the result.
  • Performing it regularly can ease the pain in the legs due to varicose veins. The flexing of the calf muscles can also prevent varicose veins.

Tips to Reduce Varicose Veins:

  1. Get plenty of exercises, choose any one of the activities mentioned above.
  2. Keep track of your weight. If you are overweight, try reducing your weight actively.
  3. Avoid standing still for too long. Take frequent breaks and sit for a while.
  4. Avoid sitting cross-legged as much as possible.
  5. Always sleep with your legs at some height. Place a pillow under your feet when resting. This allows the blood flow to the heart.
  6. Eat a high fiber diet. Avoid excess salt in your diet.

Performing any of the exercises as mentioned above regularly, will give you a significant relief for varicose veins, and also helps in the prevention of the further progress of the varicose veins.

These exercises, in the beginning, are hard to perform because of the pain in the legs, but once you start performing these exercises, it becomes effortless for you and can also ease your pains. Although, some of these are very easy to perform, take necessary precautions before and while performing these exercises as some of them may lead to severe leg injuries. Do consult your physician before planning to perform any exercises for varicose veins.


1. Does Exercise Really Help with Varicose Veins?

Ans: Exercises do not show visible results overnight. You need to have the patience for such treatments. Exercises may or may not help with varicose veins, but one thing for sure is that exercises will stop varicose veins in further progressing.

2. Is Exercise Safe for Me?

Ans: Exercises are safe for all aged groups, provided it depends on what type of exercise you choose. Always read the precautions and steps to follow before performing any kind of exercise.