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Does Walking Help With Restless Leg Syndrome

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Best Way To Exercise The Muscles In Your Feet

How to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)


Most people never even think about exercising their feet, but there are ligaments, muscles and bones in the feet that need regular exercise as well. There are 50 muscles in the feet alone.

The feet muscles need exercise to stay healthy and maintain proper functioning. When they dont get enough exercise, they become weak.

Daily walking will exercise the 26 bones in the feet, without damaging them. It will keep them functioning more smoothly so you can stay mobile for the rest of your life.

To reduce aches and pains after your walk, a gentle massage of your feet is helpful. Stretch them out so it relieves any stress and pain.

When And How Long To Stretch

Everyone is different in regards to when and how long they should stretch to reduce restless legs syndrome. Some people will need to stretch early in the morning, while others need to do it in the afternoon to loosen muscles before bed. Universally, everyone should avoid strenuous stretching and exercise before bed. This excites the muscle fibers and worsens RLS. Play around with timing and duration of stretching to find what works best for you. As you begin aim to stretch or exercise for 30 minutes per day working up to 60 minutes. If you find muscles are tense beforehand, massage is an effective way to loosen up muscles before stretching.

Manage High Blood Pressure


It has been reported that walking daily can lower blood pressure naturally. Many people claim they dont have time to do a 30 or 45 minute walk each day.

Good news! New studies show that several 10 minute brisk walks can be as helpful as one longer walk.

Walk in the morning for 10 minutes. Take a 10-minute stroll at lunchtime and then again after work.

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Keeps Your Metabolism Working Fast

Daily walking will increase your metabolism and keep it working at a much faster rate. This will allow your body to burn calories faster and for a longer period of time.

Did you know that when you exercise on a regular basis, you even burn calories while you are sleeping?

You dont have to do extreme exercises for this to happen either. A fast-paced walk each day will increase your overall metabolism which means that it will even be working faster while you sleep.

A brisk 30-40 minute walk each day will help you digest food faster, lose weight and stay much healthier. If your digestion works faster, it can prevent stomach and other abdominal problems as well.

When To Seek Help

Calming Restless Legs Syndrome

Of course, home remedies have their limits. If these ideas dont work for you and they dont work for everyone dont hesitate to seek out the advice of a sleep expert.

Not everyone with restless legs needs to see a doctor, but severe cases can be debilitating. Some people feel so desperate and helpless, Dr. Berkowski says, as their lack of sleep can cause depression and anxiety.

He says to consult a doctor if either of the following applies to you:

  • Your difficulties falling or staying asleep lead to you feeling sleepy or unrefreshed.
  • Your sleep is disrupted at least two or three times a week.

If these home remedies still fall short, your doctor can provide you with more information about the potential prescription medicines that can help.

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Does Walking Help Restless Legs Syndrome

Walking does help restless legs syndrome, as well as other forms of moderate and regular exercise. Be sure not to exercise excessively or too late at night as this may intensify symptoms.

Try taking a leisurely stroll for as little as 20 minutes a day. If you are not able to create specific times for walking in your schedule, try walking to work or pacing the office in between tasks. The key is to do it consistently, not just when you feel the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Also, before walking or exercising, remember to stretch. Stretching will not only prevent you from injuring yourself during exercise, but it will also help to relieve your symptoms. Stretching should be done before and after to help reduce lactic acid build-up stored in your muscles after engaging in a physical activity.

Get More Sun Exposure For Vitamin D

Do you ever find yourself in the doldrums on rainy days, especially if you have experienced more than one or two days of this weather?

Thats because your body needs Vitamin D which comes from the sun.

Daily walking will help give you more exposure to the natural form of Vitamin D that comes from exposure to the sun.

Daily walking will help increase your bodys access to Vitamin D, giving you that extra boost that will help you feel good.

A 30-minute brisk walk each day, will give you a lift in your step, because Vitamin D from the sun works on mood. No need for prolonged exposure to sun, just a few minutes each day. Many people forget that one of the best sources of Vitamin D is exposure to daily sunshine.

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Performing Regular Calf Stretches

Stretching the calf muscle may help to prevent or alleviate cramping sensations associated with RLS.

Below are some steps for performing a calf stretch:

  • Stand facing a wall, with one foot in front of the other, and both heels flat against the floor.
  • Lean towards the wall, keeping the back leg straight, and keeping both heels flat against the floor. A person should be able to feel a strong pull down the calf of their back leg.
  • Hold the position for 2030 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise three times on each leg.
  • Daily Walking Improves Asthmatic And Respiratory Conditions

    New Guidelines Help Patients Suffering From Restless Leg Syndrome

    People with asthma and respiratory conditions many times believe that exercise is bad for them and will bring on asthma and breathing attacks. That is not necessarily the case.

    Exercise is good for people with asthma. However, the level of exercise must be appropriate. Obviously, you do not want to over exert yourself, but daily walking is typically good for asthma patients.

    It can be started slowly and built up as you feel comfortable. It will help open your airways and make breathing a bit smoother. It will strengthen your lungs and help improve on your breathing and reduce your asthma symptoms. Asthma patients’ lungs are more sensitive to cold air or hot air and pollen and other things from the atmosphere.

    Breathing through the nose rather than the mouth when exercising is recommended for asthma patients. Air is warmed and filtered before reaching the lungs, making it easier for breathing.

    Walking is the best exercise to do, in order to avoid mouth breathing. Walk at a pace that allows you to continue breathing through your nose. When you start to breathe through your mouth, slow down or take a rest.

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    Does Dehydration Cause Restless Legs

    RLS can be aggravated by dehydration from a lack of water intake. So in addition to avoiding diuretics such as the caffeine sources listed above, you may also want to avoid nighttime alcohol intake, and drink liberal amounts of sparkling water, filtered water, or decaffeinated teas throughout the day.

    Ask About Iron Supplements

    As John Hopkins Medicine explains, another theory about RLS is that it’s linked to low levels of iron. Thus, taking a daily iron supplement might help relieve symptoms.

    Talk to your doctor about how much iron you should take, but John Hopkins notes that taking 325 milligrams of ferrous sulfate twice a day on an empty stomach for three months has helped some people improve their RLS symptoms.

    Alternatively, you could try increasing your food sources of iron, including meat, poultry, fish and seafood, lentils, beans and spinach.


    If lifestyle changes alone aren’t effective, medication therapy is also an option. While there isn’t one best medication for restless legs syndrome, Dr. Matta says there are different classes of drugs to try.

    One of the most common types of medications used for restless legs syndrome are those that affect dopamine pathways in your brain, such as Ropinirole and Pramipexole. Some cases of RLS may be caused by a disruption of the dopamine pathways, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , so giving medicine that increases dopamine might help.

    These drugs can cause unpleasant side effects like nausea and lightheadedness, though, so they’re often started at very low doses.


    If you’re pregnant or have an underlying medical condition, medication may not be the right choice for you. Make sure to tell your doctor about your medical history and any other symptoms you’re experiencing.

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    Exercises For Restless Legs Syndrome

    Along with doing the above stretches for restless legs syndrome, getting enough physical exercise can also be beneficial. In fact, following a low-impact, moderate daily exercise program can do wonders when it comes to alleviating RLS symptoms. Just keep in mind that most doctors recommend avoiding very strenuous exercise, such as marathon training or heavy weight lifting. You may also need to avoid exercise within a few hours of bedtime.

    Always talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Rest assured they will almost always be supportive and encouraging. If you are currently sedentary, you may wish to start out with just a few minutes of activity each session. For maximum RLS symptom relief, we recommend working up to at least 30 minutes daily.

    If you dont enjoy exercise, try different activities and consider getting moving with a companion. Being joined by a friend or family member can be a great distraction that helps workout time pass quickly. Plus, this way you can both enjoy the wide range of health improvements that regular physical activity offers.

    Below are some specific exercises for restless legs syndrome:

    Biking: Whether you prefer dirt trails or smooth pavement, you can pedal your way toward RLS symptom relief. Just be careful not to overexert on challenging hills or long rides, and always remember to wear your bike helmet and follow the rules of the road.

    Tips For Adding Exercise Into Your Life

    Calming Restless Legs Syndrome

    If you are interested in adding exercise into your routine, talk to your doctor. Some people have health conditions besides RLS that may impact the types of exercises they can do.

    For those cleared to exercise, you may try starting with light stretching, walking, or weight lifting and see how your body responds. When starting a new exercise program, try short, 10-minute workouts once or twice a week. If your symptoms get better, you may be able to increase the length of your workouts.

    If symptoms worsen, either lower the intensity or stop. If an exercise program is too much, you may consider just taking an extra flight of stairs on your way home from work or parking your car further away from a store entrance to add more steps into your day. Be patient. It may take a while to find what activities help your RLS.

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    Ways To Treat Restless Leg Syndrome While On The Move

    by Swacon Hospital | Aug 3, 2018 | Blogs and Updates

    Travelling is a great experience, but going long distances can be very uncomfortable at times. Just imagine the discomfort that people with Restless Leg Syndrome go through on long travels!

    What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

    RLS is a condition that causes uncomfortable sensations ranging from tingling, crawling, burning, and aching in the legs, or an overwhelming urge to move the affected leg. It affects 1 out of 10 people at least once in their lifetime.

    This syndrome affects people mostly at night, when sitting down, resting, or sleeping. When the person is affected by RLS when sleeping, its called Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep . PLMS will cause sleep irregularities.

    There are two types of RLS: Primary RLS and Secondary RLS.

    Primary RLS is seen to start before the age of 40, and the symptoms may worsen over time. It affects the person throughout their life.

    Secondary RLS, on the other hand, starts after the age of 45, and the symptoms do not worsen over time, but it may happen suddenly.

    Sleep Disorders Are Reduced By Daily Walking

    People who engage in daily exercise have fewer problems with sleeplessness.

    Moderate exercise, like daily walking improves the quality of sleep by allowing a smoother transition between the different phases of sleep.

    Heavier exercising in the morning and afternoon are better for sleep. More mild exercise at bedtime is best. It will allow you to get to the deepest stage of sleep and stay asleep longer.

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    Can Exercising Make Rls Worse

    Intense exercise could worsen RLS. Running long distances, lifting heavy weights, and high-intensity exercises may put too much stress on your body. This could make RLS flare-up. The timing of exercise is also important. Exercising near bedtime has been shown to cause RLS flare-ups.2,4

    Interested in reading more about lifestyle changes for symptom relief? Explore our featured collection on lifestyle changes and alternative treatments for RLS.

    It Helps Prevent Falling In Older People

    What can relieve restless legs syndrome? | In Good Shape – talk

    Daily walking strengthens a persons ability to move smoothly. For older people this can prevent falling, which can lead to further health problems. As people age, the ability to move smoothly and easily decreases, so movement and activity is essential, to maintain stability and flow.

    Many older people become very sedentary and this can cause the body to atrophy. Then when they do try to walk and move, they are more prone to falls, which can break bones and lead to even worse problems.

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    Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

    A noninvasive procedure thats typically used to treat depression could be helpful in relieving RLS symptoms. So far, studies have been limited and more research is needed, but the results are promising (4, 41,

    Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation sends magnetic impulses to certain areas of the brain.

    Its not entirely clear why rTMS could help relieve RLS symptoms. One theory is that the impulses increase the release of dopamine in the brain. Another suggests that rTMS could help calm the hyperarousal in parts of the brain that are associated with RLS .

    In one 2015 study, 14 people with RLS were given 14 sessions of rTMS over 18 days. The sessions significantly improved their RLS symptoms and improved their sleep. The results lasted for at least two months after the treatment ended .

    Stretching And Movement Tips

    Keeping your body physically active is a great way to lessen RLS symptoms. When you are immobile for too long , this is when those creepy sensations can start up. Try these stretching and movement tips:

    • Go walking for lunch. Take your sandwich and head to the park down the street.
    • Jog in place to give your circulation a boost.
    • If you sit down a lot for work, get up and walk around for five minutes every hour.
    • Right when you get out of bed in the morning and right before you hit the sack at night, take some time to stretch your legs.
    • If on a road trip, stop every hour or so for a stretch.
    • If flying in a plane, request an aisle seat. When it is safe to do so, walk up and down the aisles a couple times every so often.

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    You Will Have More Regular Bathroom Habits

    When you get on a regular daily walking schedule, you will soon find that other areas of your life become more regular as well mainly, going to the bathroom.

    Having regular bowel movements is another benefit of walking. It speeds up digestion and, therefore, causes a more regular removal of waste materials from the body.

    People who have a sedentary lifestyle usually have very slow digestive system. When your bowels slow down, waste material becomes hard and it is more difficult to pass, causing constipation.

    Start walking and get rid of the medicines for constipation. All the blood flowing to your muscles, through moderate exercise will carry the waste material away.

    Exercise And Restless Legs

    Sleep Disorders

    Regular, moderate exercise is an important treatment for RLS. If exercise seems to be making the symptoms worse, try reducing the intensity of your workouts to see if you are over-training. If that doesn’t help, it may be beneficial to move your exercise earlier in the day or trying to stay active after workout sessions. Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol have been shown to contribute to RLS symptoms so reducing or eliminating these should help. Consult your doctor about dietary changes to correct deficiencies in iron says Harvard Health, folic acid or magnesium.

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    Other Conditions Associated With Restless Legs Syndrome

    The following medical conditions are also associated with RLS, although the relationships are not clear. In some cases, these conditions may contribute to RLS. Others may have a common cause, or they may coexist due to other risk factors:

    • Osteoarthritis . About three-quarters of patients with RLS also have osteoarthritis, a common condition affecting older adults.
    • Varicose veins. Varicose veins occur in about 1 in 7 patients with RLS.
    • Obesity.
    • Diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes may have higher rates of secondary RLS. Nerve pain related to their diabetes cannot fully explain the higher rate of RLS.
    • Hypertension .
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .
    • Chronic alcoholism.
    • Sleep apnea and snoring.
    • Chronic headaches.
    • Brain or spinal injuries.
    • Many muscle and nerve disorders. Of particular interest is hereditary ataxia, a group of genetic diseases that affects the central nervous system and causes loss of motor control. Researchers believe that hereditary ataxia may supply clues to the genetic causes of RLS.
    • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder .
    • Psychiatric disorders, such as depression.

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