Peripheral artery disease (PAD) or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a type of cardiovascular disease in which narrowed arteries result in a reduced blood flow to the limbs.


Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwick, PymbleBalmain and Neutral Bay  discuss common causes of PAD and the important role exercise plays in managing and preventing PAD.


PAD is often the result of atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of fatty deposits in the wall of the arteries.

Some people with PAD show no symptoms. Others may experience symptoms such as:

  • Claudication (pain, usually in the legs, due to reduced blood flow. Often induced by exercise)
  • Numbness or pins and needles
  • Poor wound healing
  • Changes in skin tone
  • Blackened or loss of areas of skin

Risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Family History


Exercise is a key component for the management of PAD.


The aim of an exercise intervention is to help individuals with PAD increase exercise tolerance, capacity for daily tasks, improve quality of life, and reduce the risk of disease progression and co-morbidities.


Claudication pain is often what effects individuals walking capacity. Exercise has been shown to improve pain-free walking distance and total walking distance. Exercise improves the delivery of oxygen to working muscles and improves the ability of working muscles to utilise oxygen. Exercise is also known to improve the other risk factors that can accelerate PAD, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood glucose levels.

The Exercise Sports Science Australia position statement on exercise prescription for patients with PAD and intermittent claudication recommends the following:

Aerobic exercise accumulated for 30-40 minutes, 3 days per week (progressed to this as tolerated).


Resistance training on a minimum of 2, ideally 3 days (non-consecutive) per week.

The type and frequency of exercise will depend on disease severity and individual risk factors. This is why it is so important individuals are appropriately monitored during exercise and/or seek the advice of an Exercise Physiologist prior to engaging in an exercise routine.


To speak with an Exercise Physiologist today and reduce the impact of PAD on your life, call Longevity Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Pymble, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain, Bella Vista and Neutral Bay on 1300 964 002.


Written By Courtney Maher

  • Christopher, D., Belinda, P., Anthony, L., Phillip J.W., & Jonathan, G. (2014). The Exercise Sports Science Australia position statement on exercise prescription for patients with PAD and intermittent claudication. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 623-629.
  • Heart, stroke and vascular disease-Australian Facts (2021, September 10). Peripheral artery disease. Retrieved from AIHW: