How to Boost Circulation in the Legs? Here Are Our Tips

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June 3, 2021 The Vein Institute

Boosting circulation is advised by every medical professional there is, and for good reason. Healthy blood-flow helps your muscles and body to recover quicker, allows for more efficient movement and functioning, and reduces the likelihood of disease or injury. When this circulation is impaired in the legs it can lead to varicose veins, leg pain, swelling and more. If you’re looking for ways to ere are some tips to boost

Why is healthy blood flow in your legs so important?

While your heart does most of the work of pumping blood around your body, it needs some help. This is where the muscles in your lower legs come in. Aside from guiding and controlling movement while standing, walking and running, these muscles act as pumps to assist blood flow.

By contracting and expanding at the right pressures, the lower leg muscles help circulate blood to regulate and ensure the whole body has healthy blood circulation.

In fact, the muscular pump in the calf is so important that many refer to it as the second heart.

While these muscles, like the heart, work away without us doing anything, they’re just as susceptible to disease, injury and other issues. The very presence of varicose veins can indicate that these muscles aren’t working properly. Some of the factors that can cause this include:

  • Low levels of activity/poor exercise routine
  • Obesity/being heavily overweight
  • Smoking
  • Injury or atrophy to the lower leg
  • Consistent periods of low leg movement (drivers, office-workers, hospitality).

If you’re at risk of varicose veins, have them already, or want to help reduce the chances of getting them and improve your circulation, then building up these muscles is the best thing to do. Learn more: Varicose vein causes.

Tips to boost circulation in the legs

To build up strength in the legs and promote circulation both short and long-term, we’ve listed some key exercises for you. These can all be done daily without the need for equipment.

Glute bridges

This exercise activates and strengthens the glutes, which help the rest of your legs move properly.

Laying with your back on the floor and your knees bent, keep your feet flat on the ground.

With your arms stretched out towards your feet and your hands flat on the ground, slowly raise your hips so from your knee to your chest your legs are straight.

Hold this for five seconds and then slowly lower yourself.

Repeat this 10 times.

Calf raises

Calf raises are a great way to build up strength and flexibility in the Achilles tendons and calves, helping not only to boost blood flow and strengthen the muscles but give your legs more resistance against injury.

Standing straight, simply lift your heels off the ground while the front of your foot is still flat (you should feel the muscle tense).

Hold this for five seconds, then lower them again.

Repeat 10 times for 3 sets.

Tip: If you’re looking to step it up, raise one leg and do the raise one-legged, alternating feet every time reps.

Diagram showing a normal vein vs a varicose vein.

Leg raises

This builds up strength along the whole leg and helps blood-flow in the short term as well.

Laying on your back, arms flat by your side and legs outstretched, slowly raise one leg, keeping it straight.

Once it’s raised as high as you can go without causing pain, hold it there for 5 seconds.

Slowly lower the leg back down.

Do this 10 times for each leg, repeating 3 times each side.


Yep, good old walking. While it might seem basic, going for regular walks is one of the most effective and widely beneficial forms of exercise. To make sure you’re getting the most of the walk, you need to be going for at least 20 minutes unbroken.

If you’re looking to get more out of the walk and strengthen your legs even further, try going uphill where you can, the steeper the incline, the more it will push those muscles. This is proven to not only provide relief and management of any existing vein problems but helps reduce the risk of varicose veins forming in the first place!

Read more: Does crossing your legs cause varicose veins?

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive program using non-surgical laser treatment techniques. You can learn more in our Definitive Guide to Varicose Vein Treatment.

The benefits of non-surgical varicose vein treatment are:

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1300 981 402. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.