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6 Stretches/Exercises You Can Do To Improve Circulation

There are ways to improve circulation in your legs, no matter what your level of activity — even if you’re lying in bed.

Physical therapy treatments can help facilitate proper circulation throughout the body using circulation-enhancing massage to stretches and gentle exercises that foster healthy muscles.

Here are some exercises you can do to help improve your circulation:

When Standing

Heel Lifts

  1. Hold onto a chair for balance.

  2. Raise your heels slowly so that you’re standing on tiptoes.

  3. Lower your heels slowly in a controlled movement.

  4. Repeat 10 times and work up to more repeats.


  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.

  2. Keeping your core tight, lower your body as much as is comfortable.

  3. Your weight should shift to your heels, your back should be flat, and your behind should extend out.

  4. Start out with a shallow squat and increase how far you squat down as you get stronger. Your knees shouldn’t move past your toes.

  5. Repeat a few times, increasing the number of repeats as you’re able to.

When Sitting

Ankle Rotation

  1. Seated with both feet on the floor, lift one foot up slightly.

  2. Rotate the ankle clockwise 10 times and then counterclockwise 10 times.

  3. Repeat with the other foot.

Calf Stretch

  1. Sitting down with both feet on the floor, stretch one leg out in front of you.

  2. Lift your toes toward you and bend your ankle.

  3. Hold the stretch for 3 seconds and lower your foot back to the floor.

  4. Repeat 10 times or more.

  5. Repeat with the other leg.

When Lying Down

Knee Bends

  1. Lying on your back with your feet straight ahead, move one knee up toward your chest and back down.

  2. Repeat 10 times.

  3. Repeat using your other leg.

  4. Repeat the knee bends at least once an hour.

Leg lifts

  1. Lying on your back with your legs straight ahead, bend one knee while keeping your foot flat.

  2. Keeping the other leg straight and “locked,” lift it up until your knees are at the same level.

  3. Bring the leg down slowly, in a controlled movement.

  4. Repeat 10 times.

  5. Repeat with your other leg.

  6. Build up to more repeats as you’re able.

Increasing your movement is one of the most important steps you can take to improve circulation. Before attempting any of these exercises, consult with your physician or physical therapist. They can help you create a treatment plan that works best for you.

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