Sometimes it feels like we’re on our feet the entire day – and even if we’re not, it’s common for legs to feel tired, achy, uncomfortable or restless. We’ve spoken to a whole host of experts to find out the best ways to remedy this – and ensure your legs are feeling energised once again.
From bath hacks to yoga poses, here’s what you should be doing if you’ve noticed your legs are lagging behind and need a boost (and if your symptoms start bothering you on a regular basis, always speak to your GP to rule out anything more serious).
Run a bath, pronto
“Epsom salt is the household name for magnesium sulphate, which releases magnesium and sulphate ions when added to water,” explains Sarah Mayo, a qualified personal trainer and the co-founder of wellbeing company Point3Wellbeing. “Some studies have suggested that soaking in Epsom salts helps to replenish the body of magnesium.”
Give yourself permission to chill
Most of us know the benefits of cold therapy – think about that relieving cold pack to soothe muscle pain – but doing it on the go can prove tricky. Deep Freeze Pain Relief Glide-On Gel works like ice – delivering a fast, cooling action and soothing relief from any sharp, shooting pain in swollen or inflamed feet and legs. Even better, this scientifically-proven cold therapy in a handbag size can be used as often as required wherever you are. No cumbersome cool-box required…
Stretch it out
According to physiotherapist Aaron Armoogum, stretching is key to keeping our legs feeling happy and pain-free. “Tight hip flexors will alter the tilt of your pelvis which is a nightmare when it comes to lower limb and lumbar issues – it can cause a lot of aching and discomfort,” he says. “Equally important are our glutes and piriformis (muscles in the buttocks).
“To get started, a really simple hip flexor stretch is to bend your right knee while standing, and hold your ankle from behind. Bring your heel towards your backside as far as you can, and feel the stretch across the front of your thigh. Just make sure you don’t bend at the hips and make it too easy!”
Take it down a notch
We’re all busy and sometimes, the idea of ‘resting’ seems laughable. But it’s just as important as anything else on your to-do list, says Aaron. “When it comes to exercise, a lot of people I see tend to ‘over-train’ or repetitively do the same workout or exercise over and over. Without allowing the body to rest and actually repair itself can potentially lead to long term chronic pain. I always recommend resting as much as you need to – it’s when our body grows, recovers and recuperates. Lack of rest can contribute not just to aching legs, but a feeling of general fatigue or exhaustion too. Nobody wants that!”
Pose like a pro
According to yoga teacher Hannah Lovegrove there’s a simple fix for tiredness from physical exertion. She explains, “I’d recommend yoga pose, Virasana – also known as ‘Hero Pose’. The compression effect is deeply refreshing for the leg muscles, knee and ankle joints and it leaves the legs feeling light and fully stretched.
“Try it yourself: Kneel down with your knees together and feet apart with a big cushion or some blocks behind you, between your feet. Sit down on the support and if it’s painful for your knees, add more height. Sit tall, hands resting on your thighs, for 2-4 minutes. When you come out of the pose, stretch your legs forward for a few seconds, to straighten the knee ligaments.”
Put your feet up
Yes, really – we insist. Hannah has another smart move that can reduce swelling or restlessness in the lower legs, when needed. “Inverted Lake Pose (known as viparita karani in yoga) is great if you’ve been on your feet or in a stationary position for a long time, since our blood and lymph flow can become sluggish. Sit close to and facing a wall then swivel sideways and take your legs straight up the wall as you lie down, back flat against the floor. Wriggle in, so your bottom is touching the wall and give it ten minutes before standing up.” Legs feeling refreshed?
How much water do you drink? Dawn Morse Msc, a sports science lecturer and founder of Core Elements says we should all be reaching for the H20 on a more regular basis. “Staying hydrated, especially during warmer summer months, can help to reduce muscle cramping,” she explains. “The main reason for this is that it helps to regulate our mineral levels, which can lead to muscle cramping when out of sync. If you’ve been doing a lot of exercise in the heat, or sweating more than normal, you could consider adding an electrolytes supplement too.”
Ditch the extra salt
Did you know in some instances, modifying our diet can help with leg pain? According to Dawn, research has shown that diets low in potassium, calcium or magnesium can lead to muscle cramps, so we should aim to include foods like sweet potatoes, squash and broccoli (which are full of potassium) yogurt, sardines, lentils and cheese (for calcium) and spinach, quinoa and tofu (for magnesium). “If your salt intake is high thanks to processed foods and added salt, aim to lower it – along with muscle and leg pain, it can lead to dehydration and raised blood pressure,” Dawn explains.
Walk it out
Exercise and stretching has been shown to help with leg pain – especially aches and discomfort that gets worse as the day continues or is chronic in nature – meaning moving around a bit can really help.
“Aim to walk briskly for 20-30 minutes a day,” says Dawn. “It’s not only good for the heart, but it helps to strengthen and stretch leg muscles as well as improve the quality of the muscles – all smart moves for anybody experiencing discomfort, cramps or a tired sensation in the legs.” And since Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel promises no mess and an easy glide-on application, it’s worth throwing in your bag for cooling, targeted relief on-the-go, too. Happy strolling!
Experts quoted in this article do not endorse any brands.