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Ask the Experts

Exercise and Varicose Veins

by Berkeley Wellness  

Q: Can exercise cause or worsen varicose veins?

A: A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are associated with an increased risk of developing varicose veins, so staying physically active may actually help prevent them. If you already have varicose veins, low-impact activities like walking and swimming can help ease symptoms by gently stimulating circulation.

In contrast, strenuous or high-impact exercise— such as running or jumping rope on hard surfaces or lifting heavy weights while standing—may cause pain and swelling in people with varicose veins. Talk to your health care provider about the right exercise program for you.