Exercises for Restless Leg Syndrome

Calf stretch
Calf stretches help restless leg syndrome

There are many exercises for restless leg syndrome (RLS), and you may want to give them a try if you're experiencing this frustrating condition. Additionally, many doctors suggest certain lifestyles changes in sleep and diet that may work together to provide you with relief.

About RLS

Restless leg syndrome is a condition in which an individual has a strong, almost overwhelming desire to move his or her legs, usually occurring in the evening during bedtime. For individuals suffering with RLS, relief only seems to come when the legs are moving. Occasionally, this condition will affect other parts of the body, as well.

Exercises for Restless Leg Syndrome

Exercise can often address many health problems, and RLS is just one such issue. Try out some of these simple exercises to relieve your RLS symptoms.

Walking

It sounds simple enough, but many people don't get in enough walking per day. Now that so many people work at desk jobs, normal things like walking have become a lost art. Walking might be a simple exercise, but it can do wonders for the body. It gets your blood flowing, works your calf and thigh muscles, and improves your overall health. A daily walk can make a huge difference in your condition, as well as in your general sleeping habits.

Yoga

Talk about relaxation. Yoga is one of those activities that goes beyond exercise. It's part-workout, part-stress relief, and many people have jumped on the "om" exercise bandwagon. Take note, though. Just because it's become a recent trend doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken seriously. Yoga exercises pack some serious punch, especially for the hips, thighs, and calves. It may also completely wipe you out of energy just in time for bed!

Try these relaxing yoga poses a few hours before bedtime.

Stretching

Much like yoga, stretching works to ease tight muscles and helps increase your flexibility. By stretching each night before bedtime, you can relax not only your body, but your mind. Here are a few stretches to practice daily.

  • Toe Pull Calf Stretch - Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Reach forward with both hands and grasp your toes, pulling gently until you feel the stretch in your calves. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and relax. Repeat several times.
  • Wall Stretch - Stand a few inches from a wall. Prop one toe against the wall and lean forward, placing your hands against the wall for balance. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat with your other foot.
  • Seated Inner Thigh Stretch - Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you. Hold your feet and press your knees gently toward the floor. Don't worry if they don't touch the floor. You just want to feel the stretch in your inner thighs. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and release.
  • Lying Hamstring Stretch - Lie flat on your back with one leg extended above you and your toes pointed. Lace your fingers behind your knee and pull gently until you feel the stretch along the back of your thigh. Hold for 10 ro 15 seconds and release. Repeat with your other foot.

Additional Tips

Here are a few other things to try in addition to exercises for restless leg syndrome and to help you get a better night's sleep.

  • Create a regular, predictable sleep schedule.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Get regular cardiovascular exercise.
  • Eliminate alcohol and caffeine.
  • Talk to your doctor about possible medications or therapies to relieve symptoms.

More Information

To learn more, visit the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation website.

Exercises for Restless Leg Syndrome