Exercising with varicose veins. Is it safe and what should you do?


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As with any condition, varicose veins can range from mild to severe, meaning that the associated health risks, pain problems and the impact on your lifestyle will also vary. However, developing these ‘spider veins’ or going through varicose veins treatment in Melbourne, doesn’t mean that you can’t get moving and keep fit.

If you are beginning to see signs of these veins, the first thing you might be tempted to do is type ‘vascular surgeon near me’ into the search bar. Our minds always jump to the worst case scenario, and while you should contact a healthcare professional to get checked out, such invasive procedures are not always necessary.

Many people that visit a vascular professional ask if they should rest and take it easy, or if it’s safe to keep exercising? Although there are exceptions, in the majority of cases, exercise can be a really effective way to manage the severity of the condition and deal with the discomfort it causes.


This blog will discuss how exercising can help reduce the risk of developing varicose veins, how it can help to deal with the discomfort of them and what exercises you should focus on to achieve results.

Exercise as a preventative measure

It’s important to note that exercise alone will not guarantee that you don’t develop varicose or spider veins, but different activities will help to improve your blood circulation, and that is what will reduce the likelihood of developing them.

If you think about it, the legs are a long way from the heart, so the body has a lot of pumping to do to get the blood to and from the lower limbs. Keeping active, avoiding staying in the one position for too long and keeping your weight down are excellent ways to help with circulation.

This is key, as we know that poor circulation due to weakened blood vessel walls and valves are the main cause of varicose veins

What exercises will help?

There are so many different types of exercise that can help to prevent this condition, so try out a few and find what works for you. The below can be split into cardio and strength  training and you can choose a mixture of both for well rounded results.


Before taking part in any exercise, you need to warm up the muscles by stretching them. You’ll also be less likely to injure yourself while you’re active and you’ll also improve flexibility, another great way to prevent varicose veins.


Walking briskly, running and cycling are all examples of cardio, as they raise your heart rate and get the blood pumping around the body. Any of these activities will work your calf muscles, a spot that is particularly prone to varicose and spider veins. Keeping your legs strong will help to improve blood flow, which is a great way to prevent a weakening of the vessels.

Doing just 30 minutes of cardio a day can have a huge impact, but make sure to think about the ground when you’re running, as concrete or tarmac can be harsh on the bones. If at all possible, look for a grass or synthetic track to run on.

Strength and resistance:

These types of exercises usually don’t get the heart rate up as much as cardio, but it is just as important to build strength in the muscles. The following are some simple exercises that you can do at home:  Laid out below are some that you could do at home, without any equipment.


Stand up straight with your feet slightly apart. Take a step forward with one leg and bend down into it, making sure your knee is directly over your ankle. You should also be bending your back leg but don’t let the knee touch the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, before coming back up and repeating multiple times, alternating legs. Squeezing your leg, glutes and stomach muscles will help you to balance during this.

 Leg raises

For this exercise, lie on your back on the floor and slowly raise one leg up and hold it in the air for about five seconds, before lowering it slowly. Repeat this multiple times on each leg.

Calf raises

  • There are a few ways to do this exercise, some will be tougher than others. Stand up straight with your feet apart. Slowly rise up onto your tippy toes and hold yourself up for a few seconds, then slowly come back down but not fully to the floor. Instead, let your feet almost touch the ground, but before they do, rise back up onto your toes. Your calf strength will improve by doing this regularly.

If you want to kick this one up a gear, try it by standing on a staircase facing up, with your heels hanging off the back of the step. Raise yourself up and down without the support of the step under your heel.

There are many other exercises that can prevent varicose veins, but you shouldn’t try anything too strenuous without the supervision of your doctor. If the problem persists or worsens you may need to seek out varicose veins treatment in Melbourne or contact a vascular surgeon near me for specialist advice.


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