Raised Leg Exercises to Reduce Leg Swelling in the Elderly

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Leg and feet swelling is also known as peripheral edema, and is a common condition in older people, according to MedlinePlus. Exercises to promote circulation and the flow of blood from your extremities back to your heart can prevent the conditions and/or help reduce the swelling. Make sure to get your doctor's approval prior to engaging in a new exercise routine.


Your circulation slows, meaning the blood pumps into and away from your extremities with less force, as you age. Other causes of leg swelling include injury, being overweight, pregnancy and standing for a long time. While leg swelling is usually painless and often not serious, the condition can be a sign of more serious heart, kidney and liver failure. If your symptoms persist, see a doctor.

Simple Elevation

Lie on your back on a bed or couch with several pillows under your feet to raise them slightly above the height of your chest. This encourages the blood to flow away from your legs and feet. Do this several times a day to help prevent swelling.

Calf Raises

You can do this exercise standing, sitting in a chair or even lying on a bed. If sitting or standing, raise your heels off the floor so only the balls of your feet are in contact with the ground. Lower your heels back to the ground and repeat several times. By working the muscles in your lower legs, you are using them as pumps to push the blood out of your extremities.

Leg Kicks

Do leg kicks lying on your side on the floor with a slight bend at your hips so you can see your toes. Position one hand under your head and one in front of your chest for support, then raise your top leg and bring it forward as much as you can while maintaining your balance. You can also do this exercise by raising your top leg and circling it in the air. Repeat several times on both sides.