How to Exercise with PAD

It's important to exercise with PAD

How to Exercise with PAD

One in twenty Americans over the age of 50 have peripheral artery disease (PAD).8 With this condition, many people experience heavy and tired legs. So how can you exercise with PAD safely to feel better?

The first step is to start slowly — but consistently — with a new routine. A good goal: Do aerobic activity 3 to 5 times a week and strength exercises 2 to 3 times a week. Keep reading to learn how you can improve your overall health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions about Exercising with PAD

Exercise helps people with PAD improve heart health and sleep patterns, while reducing blood pressure and excess weight. When kick-starting a healthier routine, check out these answers to some common questions.

Q: What are the best types of exercises for my foot and leg pain?

A: Walking is a low-impact exercise that elevates your heart rate and can improve your mobility. Have a goal of walking up to five days a week. And if walking outside doesn’t feel like a good fit, try the treadmill, a stationary bike, beginner yoga poses or swimming.

Q: How do I exercise if it feels painful?

A: Exercising will cause typical muscle aches and pains at first. Start slowly, walking for 10 to 15 minutes. Then walk a little longer each week. Also, drink lots of fluids before, during and after exercising. Staying hydrated may reduce pain. However, talk to your doctor if you’re feeling pain that’s above and beyond typical soreness.

Q: How do I take care of my feet and legs before and after exercise?

A: Remember to warm up, stretching your calf and thigh muscles for 10–15 minutes, before you start exercise. Wear proper footwear and thick socks that provide the support you need.

To check out more exercise options, read “Being Active When You Have Peripheral Arterial Disease,” a helpful three-page guide from the American College of Sports Medicine on aerobic training, strength training and other forms of physical activity.  

For More Information

It’s time to get moving! Committing to more physical activity is good advice for anyone. Ask your healthcare professional today about the best way to get started with an exercise program.

Visit our website to learn more about PAD, and use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a PAD specialist.

Guidance sourced from the American College of Sports Medicine