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These Are the Best Workouts for Healthy Veins

Most people work out to lose weight or stay in shape. But regular exercise can do more than help you look good — it has been shown to enhance your health and fitness while reducing the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Of course, you probably already know this, but you might be surprised to learn that working out is also good for your veins. When you get the heart pumping, it improves your circulation and promotes strong blood vessels, which can help reduce the symptoms associated with varicose veins. While even light physical activity can improve your vein health, not all exercises will have the same impact. At Speciality Vein Care in Norfolk, Massachusetts, we’ve put together a list of some of the best workouts for stronger veins, including those you can do at home or in the office.


Walking is safe, easy and the benefits are seemingly endless. It directly counteracts the effects of sitting or standing all day, both of which can lead to poor circulation and make it harder for blood to return to the heart. This may result in pooling that increases pressure on the venous walls, weakening the valves that keep things moving in the right direction. Over time, the affected blood vessels begin to twist and bulge outward, leading to varicose veins and symptoms like pain, throbbing or swelling in the legs.

Walking is especially good if you suffer from varicose veins because it is a low-impact exercise that improves blood flow and strengthens the leg muscles without putting too much strain on the body. Plus, it’s safe for all age groups and requires no special equipment, aside from a decent pair of shoes. Most doctors recommend that you try to walk for at least 30 minutes each day, but if that doesn’t fit that into your schedule, even small changes in your routine can positively impact your health. Try taking a brief walk on your lunch break, parking farther away at the grocery store, or going down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email — it all adds up, helping you get more steps in.


Much like walking, cycling is a low-impact exercise that’s often recommended for those with varicose veins. Riding a bike, taking a spin class or doing a home cycling workout gets the blood flowing and strengthens your calf muscles to improve circulation throughout the body. Strong leg muscles are actually key to good vein health — the calves act as a ‘pump’ that helps move blood back up toward the heart with each contraction, against the pull of gravity. The stronger they are, the more efficiently they’re able to do their job. In fact, poor functioning of the calf muscle’s pump activity has been linked to worsening or progressive symptoms of venous insufficiency.

You can use either a traditional or stationary bike to strengthen your legs and circulation. If you don’t have access to a bike, you can still do ‘bicycle leg’ exercises at home. This involves lying on your back and drawing your knees to your chest, then pedaling in the air as if you were cycling. You can exercise both legs simultaneously or alternate between them, whichever feels more comfortable. You can also incorporate your arms and abs for a more thorough workout.


Studies show that swimming is one of the best full-body exercises you can do to improve your overall health and fitness. It is also a low-impact activity but engages your legs, upper body and core, utilizing more muscle groups than any other cardio workout. And while you’re in the water, the buoyancy supports your joints and takes the weight off your legs to improve circulation. You’ll also experience the effects of hydrostatic pressure, which works similarly to a compression stocking to maintain blood flow and alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with varicose veins, such as pain, swelling or throbbing.

You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to get into the pool — you can do aerobic exercises in the shallow end, tread water or simply float around and still get good results. If you’re a more experienced swimmer, you might want to swim laps or play a water sport instead. When it’s warm enough, you can also go out onto a nearby lake or rent a stand-up paddleboard for some variety. Whatever you decide, spending at least 30 minutes in the water will help you get the most out of your workout.


Yoga is a gentle yet effective exercise that combines light stretching with various poses to build strength and flexibility. It’s ideal for all ages and fitness levels and won’t strain your body, making it a great option for those with venous problems. There are even several yoga exercises specifically designed to alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins, such as the shoulder stand, downward-facing dog, and fish pose. While these may sound difficult or intimidating, each pose can be adjusted to suit your abilities.

The flowing movements of yoga improve circulation and build muscle strength, but it’s also known for reducing stress and high blood pressure. While it won’t cure varicose veins, yoga has a relaxing, calming effect that can help your body do its job better and reduce the risk of further harm. Talk to your doctor to determine which yoga poses will be most beneficial for you, and if there are any you should be avoiding.

Leg lifts, Ankle Rotations & Calf Raises

If you can’t fit a half-hour walk or swim into your schedule, there are other workouts you can do at home, in the office, or on the go to strengthen your leg muscles and improve circulation. Leg lifts, ankle rotations and calf raises don’t require any special equipment and can be done while either sitting or standing, depending on which is easier or more convenient for you.

To do a leg lift, simply lift one leg and extend it straight out. Briefly hold this position, then slowly lower it back down. Repeat for the other leg. Ankle rotations involve lifting all but your heel off the floor and turning your feet at the ankles, making small circles in the air. Repeat this several times, changing direction between sets. If you want to do a calf raise, sit or stand with your feet hip-width apart, and raise your heels until you’re on your tiptoes. Hold this position, then slowly lower your heels. You can do any of these exercises to improve circulation in the lower body and keep the blood flowing through your feet, legs and ankles.

Can Exercise Heal My Varicose or Spider Veins?

While working out can’t fix or cure varicose veins, it can help reduce your symptoms. In most cases, exercise should be combined with management techniques recommended by your doctor, which may include medication, compression stockings, or minimally invasive treatments designed to address varicose veins, spider veins and venous insufficiency.

At Speciality Vein Care in Norfolk, Massachusetts, Dr. John Frasca offers the latest in vein care to improve the health, comfort and quality of life of his patients. No more lengthy surgeries or vein stripping to eliminate your varicose veins — now, you can achieve the same permanent results with minimally invasive procedures like sclerotherapy, microphlebectomy or endovenous ablation. By combining his extensive knowledge of vascular disease with advanced diagnostic tools, Dr. Frasca can pinpoint the exact cause of your symptoms and prescribe highly targeted treatment options to address your needs.

To learn more about the benefits of exercise or how Dr. Frasca can help you find relief from your varicose vein symptoms, we encourage you to schedule a consultation. Call the office at (508) 906-5200 or complete the online contact form to get started today.