health

Why are my legs always tired, heavy and achy?

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Thanks to our brand partner, Antistax

It’s mostly at the end of the day when I finish cleaning the house and packing the school bags for the next day when I wonder if my legs have enough strength in them to walk me to bed where I can fall on my face for a few hours of glorious sleep.

Fatigue is one reason I have tired, heavy, aching legs. In addition to that load, I’ve also embarked on a new exercise regime in time for my 40th birthday early next year. I know it will be worth it in the end, for my health and my mind – but I’ll get to that a little later.

I’ve also noticed that I groan a lot when standing up and sitting down and I haven’t done that since my last pregnancy in 2009.

Did three pregnancies ruin my legs? Are they phantom pains from the pressure of those times?

Tired, heavy, aching legs are a common, not often talked about, modern day affliction – so I recently asked Boehringer Ingelheim’s Medical Information Manager Geraldine Peterson-Clark all about it.

And here’s everything you need to know.

1. How common are tired, heavy and aching legs in women?

Tired, heavy, aching legs is a common condition with just under one in four females experiencing this (according to Metis Healthcare’s Antistax Quantitative Market Research Study). In terms of risk factors, it is more likely to occur in women, especially as we get older. It can sometimes be hereditary and it is more likely to occur in people who are overweight and in those who sit or stand for prolonged periods during the day.

aching legs
“In terms of risk factors, it is more likely to occur in women, especially as we get older.” Image via iStock.

2. What other symptoms should you keep an eye out for?

In terms of symptoms which might indicate something more serious, look out for a sudden onset of leg swelling, painful swelling in one leg only, or prolonged aching, swollen legs which do not improve over time. Be particularly careful if you have other medical conditions. See your doctor for advice.

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3. Why do people suffer from tired, heavy, achy legs?

The veins in the lower legs stop working as they should. So rather than helping to push blood upwards against gravity, with prolonged periods of standing or sitting, they become sluggish or inadequate. This results in blood flowing back into the veins and pooling into the tissue of the lower legs, resulting in increased fluid, causing swollen, tired, heavy, achy legs.

aching legs
Can’t talk, need to sit and rest my legs. Image via iStock

4. Are there any specific exercises you should do to help?

Anything you can do to increase activity helps with improving blood flow back to the heart. Brisk walking, light jogging and dancing are all great activities for leg health. A couple of specific exercises can help. One is to stand, rising onto tip toes for a few seconds, then relaxing back down, and repeating 10-12 times. Another is to sit and rotate the feet at the ankles, in both directions, several times.

And let’s face it, getting up, out and about is great for the mind too.

5. Is there anything you should avoid?

Sitting and standing for long periods are major culprits. If you sit a lot during the day, try to get up at a minimum at least once an hour and walk around. If you have a job where you stand a lot, support or compression stocking can help. If you are overweight, weight loss can help ease the pressure on your legs. High heels and unsupportive shoes can also aggravate the problem.

aching legs
“Sitting and standing for long periods are major culprits.” Image via iStock.
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6. Will better posture help ease symptoms?

General good posture and avoiding sitting too long with one leg crossed over the other can help. Resting with legs raised at the end of the day can also ease symptoms.

7. What about diet, is there any food that should be avoided?

The best foods are those which support heart health and the circulatory system in general. This is a high-fibre, low saturated fat, low salt, low GI diet.

aching legs
“The best foods are those which support heart health and the circulatory system in general.” Image via iStock.

8. Are there any health supplements that would help?

Yes, there is a health supplement that helps in this condition. It is Antistax, a bioflavonoid which is an antioxidant and can improve tired, heavy and aching legs.

9. What is Antistax and what are the benefits?

Antistax contains dried Vitis Vinifera (red vine) leaf extract. In clinical trials, the Antistax AS195 red vine leaf extract has been shown to reduce swelling of the lower legs over time. After six weeks of daily use, there was shown to be a significant reduction in leg swelling.

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After a further six weeks, the swelling in the lower legs reduced further. Daily use of Antistax leg health supplement can help to improve swelling and blood flow over time. Antistax helps promote healthy leg circulation, helps relieve tired, heavy, aching legs and helps manage the symptoms of varicose veins.

aching legs
After six weeks of daily use, there was shown to be a significant reduction in leg swelling – just think of all the dog walking you’ll get in. Image via iStock.

10. Do you have any final advice for women?

Tired, heavy achy legs is a common condition, so don’t ignore the symptoms. Listen to your legs, and don’t let tired, heavy, achy legs take hold.

I never realised there was so much I could do to help alleviate tired, heavy, aching legs. I’ve always wanted to buy myself one of those pillow-like leg rests and plan to buy myself one for every room. Bliss. Especially considering the fact I spend half my life on my laptop computer, and having my legs propped up makes it easier to balance it while I work.

That’s another piece of advice I plan to take up. I’m going to get up every half hour or so and take a bit of a walk and have a stretch, instead of sitting down for so long that I lose feeling in my butt.

And I have to cut down on salt. I love my salt, but it’s so, so bad. I’ve also made improvements to my diet lately with the addition of quinoa.

I’ll do anything to go through just one day without groaning due to leg pain. I’m not an old lady yet and when I am, I plan to be one of those spritely, fit, energetic ones.

So here’s to turning 40.

How have you treated your tired, achy legs?

Tags: health , legs , sore , health-and-wellbeing , women
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