Effective Physical Exercises for Restless Legs Syndrome

by | Aug 12, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common sleep and movement disorder that affects nearly 10% of adults each year. Although symptoms can be painful and unrelenting, there are ways to reduce them effectively.

One of the best ways to control your RLS symptoms is through regular movement and daily physical exercise. The key is to choose exercises that keep you moving and build up a sweat but don’t overexert your body or put too much of a strain on your legs.

At Virginia Vein Care, we recognize how overwhelming restless legs can be in everyday life, especially if they’re getting in the way of a restful night’s sleep or disrupting your normal activities.

The good news is that we are here to provide you with a proper diagnosis and long-term support to help you understand the benefits of exercise for RLS and get you better sooner.

Let’s discuss restless legs and how exercise can help with your symptoms.

First, What Is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome, or RLS for short, is a neurological disorder that presents itself in the physical form as an uncontrollable urge to move one or both of your legs.

The exact cause of RLS is still widely unknown, but many experts believe that a combination of environmental factors and genetics plays a role in developing the condition.

Many studies have made a distinct tie between RLS and iron deficiency in certain parts of the brain, causing a dopamine malfunction which often leads to the urge to constantly move your limbs, especially your legs.

RLS can manifest or worsen due to certain medications, caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine consumption.

While not all restless legs are caused by vein-related problems, they are a common symptom of venous insufficiency.


The most prevalent symptom of RLS is the constant urge to move your legs which come and go.

Leg sensations due to RLS have been described as

  • Crawling
  • Pulling
  • Throbbing
  • Aching
  • Itching
  • Electric zaps

If you’re experiencing RLS symptoms tied in with venous insufficiency, regular exercise can help both of your conditions.

Physical Exercises for Restless Leg Syndrome

Regular physical activity is one of the best and most natural ways to reduce RLS symptoms and flareups.

Various exercises aid in optimal health and contribute to lowered RLS symptoms.

When selecting an exercise, choose options that aren’t too strenuous or extreme, especially if you’re just beginning.

Some of the best exercises for RLS include

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Walking

Before and after your workout, make sure that you stretch for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Some of the best stretches for those with RLS include

  • Calf stretch
  • Front thigh stretch
  • Hip flexor stretch

Please note that when deciding on what physical exercise is best for you, we always encourage you to speak with your primary care physician or a vein and RLS specialist before beginning a new fitness regimen.

How Long Should You Exercise With RLS?

Similar to those without RLS, daily exercise should be kept to 30 to 60 minutes.

Avoid working out close to bedtime or when RLS pain is present and joints are sore, as it may worsen your symptoms.

It is also important to note that long periods of no exercise followed by random bursts of extreme or intense exercise can exacerbate the symptoms.

Work with your doctor or an RLS specialist to determine the best exercise treatment plan for your needs, including exercise duration times.

Restless Leg Treatment You Can Count On

Virginia Vein Care offers effective venous insufficiency treatment.

Our minimally invasive outpatient procedures do not require extensive surgeries or downtime and provide lasting results for symptom reduction and overall better quality of life for those living with venous insufficiency and RLS.

If you’re hoping to eliminate the symptoms of restless legs or venous insufficiency, we can help. Please visit a Virginia Vein Care location near you.