Useful Exercises to Treat and Prevent Varicose Veins

Useful Exercises to Treat and Prevent Varicose Veins

Last update: 09 August, 2015

Varicose veins develop when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly. In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart. The blood is prevented from flowing backwards by a series of tiny valves that open and close to let blood through. If the valves weaken or are damaged, the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged (varicose). In this article, we will explain certain exercises to prevent and treat varicose veins.

Varicose veins normally appear on legs but can occur on other parts of the body. They mostly cause mild symptoms but some are so severe that they require treatment with compression stockings, ultra sound or surgery. They are more common in the elderly, people who are overweight or who have a sedentary lifestyle and in pregnant women.

Before you try medical procedures, you may want to have a look at these exercises. 

If you suffer from varicose veins it often helps to strengthen the muscles in your legs. In order to do that, you can start a programme of exercises, which are easy, practical, and won’t require any kind of equipment.

Take a look at the following exercises and try to do them a few times a day, leaving breaks for your muscles to rest and recuperate.

Laying down


When you lay down to watch TV or read a book, take the opportunity to do these exercises:

  • Lay on your back and raise your legs. Put your feet on a wall. This position will facilitate circulation and make you feel rested.
  • You can also lift your legs up when they are straight. Separate them, and bring them together a few times.
  • Lift your legs up and pedal in the air in the same position. You can also make circles with your feet.
  • Bend one of your legs towards your chest, supporting it from behind the knee. Leave it there for a few seconds and change legs. This exercise will work the muscles in your calves.
  • With your legs straight, bend your toes 20 times.

Seated exercises


If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk at work, try these exercises:

  • Stretch and bend your legs constantly to facilitate blood circulation.
  • Separate and bring the tips of your feet together. Repeat it at least 30 times a session. Remember that it is important to do these exercises consistently and daily to get the best effect.
  • Support your heels on the floor, raise the tips of your toes, lower and raise your heels a few times.

Exercises standing up

If you are stuck in a standing up position, try these exercises:


  • Walk on your tip toes and then on your heels.
  • Without moving in place, flex by standing on your toes and heels.

Recommendations to prevent varicose veins

Leg massages

Regular massage of the affected area will help relieve discomfort and reduce swelling.

  • Do short and circular massagesthis helps to move accumulated blood so that it can continue to the heart.
  • Spread the cream massage oil or cream upwards from your feet to your abdomen. This will help your blood vessels to move the blood and reduce the size of the veins.

Maintain an ideal weight


Obesity is  a major cause of poor circulation and causes varicose veins. If you can maintain a healthy body weight you are far less likely to develop the problem in the first place.

Avoid spending a lot of time in the same position

We all have to spend a lot of time standing up or sitting down in one position at some point in our lives. It helps if you can move your legs once in a while. You can do the exercises above if you are stuck on a long journey or standing in a queue. 


We recommend regular short walks (for at least 30 minutes a day), cycling and swimming. These are excellent for blood circulation and also strengthen muscles in your body.

If you do these exercises consistently and are dedicated, you will be able to prevent the appearance of varicose veins or reduce their appearance if you already have them.