If you’ve been diagnosed with RLS or restless leg syndrome, chances are you’ll want to learn any and all exercises that may be useful in reducing the annoying tingly effects of this condition. While the name of the condition may seemingly encourage patients to stay active as long as possible, doctors frequently recommend finding or creating your own exercise regimen that will keep you active on your feet without overexerting yourself.
When creating an exercise routine for yourself, it’s important not to overwork yourself but at the same time, avoid sedentary for long periods of time. Patients who have been diagnosed with RLS will find that just the right amount of exercise is crucial to reducing the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
Creating An Exercise Regimen For You
No one particular exercise regimen will work for everyone. Some sufferers find relief in exercises such as squats and running up and down stairs before turning in for the night. Others may be exhausted by the sheer idea of performing any of these movements. A modified exercise program might include running in place for a short period of time or even cycling on a stationary bike. The most important thing to do is to stay active and and stretch the muscles in your legs as frequently as possible. Because one exercise might work better than others, it’s a good idea to try a variation of exercises before settling on just one.
How Much Is Too Much?
There is some disagreement on whether or not strenuous exercise before bed is beneficial or harmful at reducing the effects of restless leg syndrome. One particular study was performed where a test group of participants walked briskly for thirty minutes for a minimum of four times a week. The results revealed that the patients experienced less sleep disturbances after four months when continuing this regimen. In any case, regular exercise may be beneficial in preventing the onset of RLS. Patients agree that moderation is key; avoid exercise that’s too strenuous and avoid sitting around for long periods of time.
Yoga and Pilates
Some health experts may even recommend alternative therapies or exercise programs such as Yoga or Pilates. However, it’s recommended you ease into these activities slowly and avoid any extreme exercises that require you to contort your body in an extreme manner. Not only does Yoga and Pilates offer the benefit of making you more aware of your body, but it also allows you to spiritually grow due to the meditative effects.
Walking With A Purpose
Walking is another exercise that anyone can perform without needing special equipment or know-how knowledge. In a small study, patients with RLS were asked to walk on a treadmill and perform lower body strength training exercises for a total period of twelve weeks. When the study concluded, the patients reported a decreased discomfort due to restless leg symptoms. The key is to walk at a moderate pace that is easy to maintain for a short period of time. Avoid speed walking as this will further agitate the symptoms.
If walking is out of question, you could try cycling. As a sufferer of RLS, you may be all too familiar with the annoying twinges or periodic limb movement of sleep (PLMS) that may occur every fifteen to forty seconds when you’re trying to catch some shut eye. Pedaling on a stationary bike for a minimum of three times a week at a moderate pace enables the patient to stretch the muscles in their legs without having to leave the comfort of their home or gym.
Water therapy or hydro therapy is another alternative therapy that some RLS patients have had some success with. The ability to take weight off your agitated limbs combined with the soothing and therapeutic qualities of water is ideal for anyone who also suffers from the conditions of arthritis.
Making time to stretch can help alleviate the symptoms of restless legs. Below are some of the most effective stretches:
To perform this stretch, begin by strecthing your arms out so your palms rest flat against a wall. Your elbows should not be bent. Bend your right knee and place your left foot behind you a foot or two. Hold this position for a count of twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat the same exercise on the opposite side. If you want to challenge yourself, try placing your foot further back behind you.
Use a wall for balance. Grab one ankle and pull it towards your buttock. Be sure to keep the opposite leg completely straight. Hold this pose for a count of twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat the same exercise with the opposite leg.
Use a chair on a flat surface for this exercise. Place one one foot flat on the seat of the chair, make sure your knee is bent. While keeping a straight posture, lean forward into your pelvis for a count of twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Restless Leg Syndrome can be beat with purposeful exercise that enables you to experience a moderate workout without over exertion on the patient’s part. Doctors and medical experts encourage people experiencing RLS symptoms to pick an exercise program they know they can stick to.
“I get plenty of sleep now, straight, blissful unbroken sleep”