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Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location. 

What Are The Best Exercises For Varicose Veins?

July 30, 2020

Varicose veins are caused by poorly functioning valves in your veins. There’s also decreased elasticity of the vein wall, allowing the pooling of blood within your veins, and they get larger. But there are exercises for varicose veins that you can try to help alleviate them.

If you do have varicose you face a number of complications, such as muscular dysfunction, limited ankle range of motion, and diminished calf muscle pump function. Exercise therapy has been shown to improve calf muscle pump function, symptom relief, and may provide additional therapeutic benefits. It also has been reported that a structured exercise plan has the ability to improve ankle joint range of motion, calf muscle strength, and calf muscle pump function.

So, let’s take a look at some of the best exercises for varicose veins, whether you’re just starting out or already take part in a workout routine.

Simple Exercises For Varicose Veins

If you haven’t worked out in a while, you should not only talk to your doctor about exercises for varicose veins, but you should also start slowly. Here are some exercises that you can do at home, or even at work, that will help you strengthen your calf muscles.

Calf Raises

An easy way to strengthen your calf muscles is to do calf raises (aka calf flexors). Put your feet flat on the floor, then slowly raise your toes, stretching your calf muscle. Now, lower your toes to the floor and raise your heels, repeating for 30 seconds to one minute.

Toe Flexes

This is similar to calf raises (or flexors), but even easier. The toe flex is an exercise for varicose veins that you can do anywhere.


At home, lie on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Point your toes forward as far as you can, then back. Do this rhythmically for 20 times per leg.

Tippy Toes

This is a very simple calf-strengthening exercise that will also help prevent leg cramps and muscle spasms in your legs.

To do this, stand on your tiptoes, pause, then lower your heels to the ground.

Repeat to fatigue.

Harder Exercises For Varicose Veins

If you’re already exercising, or have talked to your doctor about taking your exercises for varicose veins to the next level, here’s what you can do.

March in Place

A study finds that walking in place during commercials while watching TV actually provides a pretty good workout. ... Steps were counted during the walking-in-place scenario. Stepping in place during commercials burned an average of 148 calories and resulted in an average of more than 2,000 steps in about 25 minutes.


Walking is the simplest of all exercises since it requires no specialized equipment. It’s one of the best exercises for varicose veins because you don’t need to commit a lot of time to it in order to benefit.

Short 5-minute walks every 30 minutes can be more effective than longer daily walks for vein health.


In addition to maintaining flexibility, jogging can also help you improve other aspects of your overall health, including:

  • Heart health
  • Immune system
  • Reduce insulin resistance
  • Coping with stress and depression

The bottom line is that you can dramatically improve your health just by moving — anytime, anywhere, and by any means that gets you active. Exercises that are good for your heart are the best exercises for varicose veins. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine, but It doesn’t take much to get moving. The benefits of getting your blood pumping are endless. The hardest part is committing to a plan and sticking with it.

And you don’t need high impact exercises to improve blood flow and relieve symptoms of varicose veins or decrease your risk for developing them. All you need to do to strengthen your leg muscles is to develop a plan with some simple forms of exercise.

The good news is that The Department of Health and Human Services recently updated its guidelines for physical activity and you don’t have to put in a lot of time or effort to benefit. Just a little bit of activity can go a long way. Even doing an activity for as little as 22 minutes a day will reap rewards.

North Ohio Heart - Varicose Vein Overview

For more on the updated physical activity guidelines and tips on staying active, check out our guide “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.” Inside you’ll find more ways to ease yourself into an exercise routine and how hard you should be working out to see results.

Or if you’d like to find out more about ways to treat varicose veins, you can watch our video.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans