Best Exercise for Peripheral Artery Disease: A Detailed Guide

Living with peripheral artery disease (PAD) means experiencing the excruciating pain of walking even a short distance. Plaque hardens over time inside your arteries, reducing the amount of blood that can flow to your legs. Exercise is one of the greatest strategies to control PAD symptoms, even though it may cause some discomfort while walking. What you need to know about exercising with PAD is outlined below.

Peripheral Artery Disease: An Introduction

Plaque buildup in the arteries causes peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which reduces blood flow to the legs. Leg pain or intermittent claudication (limping) and walking difficulties are symptoms of poor blood flow, making it difficult to go about daily life. Leg mobility can progressively decline with PAD, the chance of developing heart disease increases, and surgery may be required in difficult situations. That's why it's so important to keep an eye out for symptoms and make a thorough diagnosis. To learn more about PAD, please scroll down.


The doctor will administer an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test. This non-invasive test compares your resting and post-exercise blood pressure in your ankles and arms. Ultrasound, magnetic resonance angiography, and computerized tomographic angiography are additional diagnostic tools the doctor may use to confirm PAD.

Your doctor may prescribe medicine and supervise physical activity to help you manage the symptoms of peripheral artery disease. However, these treatments will vary depending on the severity of your condition. Here are the top PAD exercises; scroll down to view them.

Best Exercises for Peripheral Artery Disease

Legs are a common target for PAD. It gets exhausting to walk for extended periods in this condition. On the other hand, exercise therapy is clinically effective in increasing pain-free walking distance by 180% in several uncontrolled trials. Additionally, those with peripheral artery disease benefit from enhanced cardiorespiratory fitness and quality of life.


To a significant part, PAD symptoms can be alleviated by exercising for 30 minutes three to four times per week. Here is a list of PAD-friendly activities you can practice at home or in a group physical therapy session with guidance from an instructor. Important! Use the claudication pain scale if you're experiencing any discomfort from your workout. You should take a break if your discomfort level is at a 3. If the affliction has subsided, you can resume your exercise.

1. Intermittent Walking

Depending on your preference, you can do this outdoors or on a treadmill. First, try covering a fair distance. Pick a route that occasionally offers gentle slopes if you can. Walking on a treadmill with one hand on the sidebars is not recommended.

2. Toe Walking

Roll your feet out and walk normally on the ground. Try this workout close to a wall if you're at home. Group therapy sessions typically involve a walking circle of seats. The calves and feet are engaged in this workout, which improves circulation.

3. Assisted Standing Calf Raises

Put your weight on the back of a chair or a walking bar and stand behind it for stability. Do a heel raise and a heel drop. You should keep doing this till it hurts. Take a break, and then crank out a couple more sets.

4. Step-ups

Increased flexibility, stability, and lower-body coordination can all be attained with regular step-ups. You can use the steps at the group therapy session or a staircase at home for this activity. Lift your right leg a step and bring it down again. Repeat on one leg 10 times before switching to the other.

5. Chair Sit-Stand-Heel-Raises Exercise

Perform this exercise to enhance knee flexibility, balance, calf muscle strength, and hand-eye coordination. Follow their lead and get expert guidance. To begin, please take a seat. Raise your calves, lower your heels, and sit back on the chair. Carry out the actions again.

6. Reverse Lunges

Reverse lunges target the glutes, thighs, and calves. Place your hand on the wall for support, and stand straight, with your legs shoulder-width apart. Take a step back with your right leg. Bend both knees and lower your body until your thighs and calves are perpendicular to each other. Pause for a moment and get up. Repeat with your left leg. Stop and rest if you experience discomfort.

7. Chair Leg Raises

Chair leg raises are great for improving blood flow from the hips to the toes. Sit on a chair with feet flat on the floor. Lift your right leg off the floor and extend it. Hold it for 5 seconds and gently lower it. Repeat with the left leg. Stop and rest if you experience discomfort.

People with PAD should engage in regular physical exercise, but they should avoid activities that put undue strain on their hearts. If you want to avoid injury, read this list of bad workouts.

Exercises to Avoid

  • Running
  • Performing a Rope Jump
  • High-intensity cycling and swimming workouts
  • Weightlifting

If your physical therapist advises you to incorporate resistance exercise into your program, you can do so with therapy bands. In any case, just stick to the 7 workouts we listed before.

Risk factors for peripheral artery disease include aging, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, and diabetes; exercise can help reduce these risks. However, in severe cases, surgical intervention may be required. The lower body muscles are strengthened, and blood flow is boosted from the hips to the toes with the help of the exercises described here. However, those who suffer from this illness should avoid activities such as running, jumping rope, and swimming. See a doctor as soon as you notice symptoms of this disease, and begin physical therapy.

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