With summer well underway and its sometimes overwhelming heat, those who suffer from heavy legs are not at the end of their troubles. The ambient humidity is making it heavier, long walks in the sun are becoming painful and swimming is necessary.
It should be noted that what is called "heavy legs" is in fact the symptom felt due to blood circulation disorders. This condition can take on different faces: night cramps, feeling of tiredness in the legs, water retention, cellulite, swollen ankles, varicose veins, tingling, etc. Whether you suffer from heavy legs during hot weather or chronically, there are natural solutions and really interesting ways to alleviate this problem or prevent its aggravation.
Why do we have heavy legs?
First of all, it is interesting to mention that women are unfortunately at a disadvantage when it comes to blood circulation problems. They are, in fact, more affected than men by this disorder, due to the influence of female hormones, estrogens, on water retention and blood stagnation in the vessels. Of course, there is also the hereditary factor that comes into play and can increase the risk of suffering from a chronic venous condition.
Other risk factors and/or triggers for heavy legs
- Hypertension: People with high blood pressure are at greater risk of water retention.
- Pregnancy: Intrapelvic pressure slows the return of blood. Hormonal changes are also a major factor. The veins are less resistant and less elastic, therefore more dilated.
- Hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle: Estrogen increases water retention.
- Taking the contraceptive pill: Combined contraceptive pills increase the risk of venous problems, some of which are quite serious, such as phlebitis and pulmonary embolism.
- Smoking: Smoking creates an inflammatory effect on the blood vessels, and increases the risk of clots and phlebitis. Smoking also promotes swelling of the feet and cramps in the legs due to reduced oxygenation of the tissues.
- Poor dietary habits: A diet low in vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A or low in potassium and magnesium can be detrimental to good blood circulation.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Physical activity favors the return of blood to the heart and usually reduces the feeling of heaviness, thanks to the circulatory pumping generated by the contraction of muscles.
- Prolonged standing or sitting : For good circulation, it is better to stay in motion or to lie down with the legs raised if necessary.
- Heat, sun, hot baths, saunas: Heat has a vasodilator effect, which can contribute to the feeling of heaviness in the legs.
Relieving heavy legs - melimelos tips
First of all, do not hesitate to consult a specialist if necessary. If necessary, consult a gynecologist to determine the best method of contraception for you. The best method for blood circulation is without a doubt non-hormonal methods.
Healthy diet for blood circulation
- Foods rich in potassium: white beans, potatoes, clams, spinach, bananas...
- Foods rich in magnesium: green vegetables, cereals, nuts, legumes, molasses...
- Foods rich in vitamin E: Oils (sunflower, grape seed, olive), nuts, fruits and vegetables (spinach, salmon, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes)...
- Foods rich in flavonoids: Citrus fruits (orange peel, grapefruit, lemon), garlic...
- Foods rich in rutin: Buckwheat, apricot, cherry, apple peel
- Foods rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids: fish and seafood, seaweed, flaxseed, hemp, walnuts...
And finally, drink lots of water!
Beneficial exercises and sports
In the case of heavy legs, physical activity will greatly help relieve the problem. The contraction of the muscles and the increase in heart rate promote a better blood return to the heart and lymphatic pumping. The most recommended sports in this case are walking, cycling, swimming and yoga.
Circulatory exercises: Alternately contract the foot in flexion and then in extension. You can practice these exercises on a yoga mat and make sure your legs are higher than your heart.
Deep breathing: This is a great way to get the lymph flowing, as it does not have a pump like the blood does with the heart.
Lymphatic drainage: Lymphatic drainage is a gentle massage technique to relieve congestion and fluid build-up in the body.
On a daily basis
- Prefer lukewarm showers and avoid long hot baths.
- Raise your legs at night, because at night the lymphatic circulation is in neutral.
- If you work sitting down, get up regularly to walk.
- Wear compression stockings if necessary, especially if your work requires prolonged standing. Some compression stockings are sold in pharmacies, while others, more expensive and with a higher degree of compression, are sold by prescription and are made to measure.
Interesting natural products
- Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum): This is an interesting plant because it reduces swelling and increases the tone of the vein walls. According to some studies, it would be comparable to the effect of stockings on the veins.
- Dosage: Standardized extract with 16-20% esculin: 240 to 290 mg, twice daily. Take for 3 weeks then take a break.
- Cautions: It may irritate the digestive mucosa, especially when taken as a tincture. Do not take with anticoagulants. Do not give to children and nursing mothers.
- Gotu kola (Centella asiatica): Gotu kola is a great connective tissue tonic plant. It will also help the blood and veins. It stimulates the formation of fibroblasts in the vein wall which helps to tone it.
- Dosage: 1 ml of mother tincture, 3 times a day
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): It contains flavonoids that tone the vein walls. It also contains coumarins that act as blood thinners and achillein, the latter of which prevents the formation of clots.
- Dosage: ½ to 1 cup, 2 to 3 times daily. Infuse 1 teaspoon in a cup of water and steep for 15 minutes with a lid.
- Cautions: do not take with blood thinners. Contraindicated for pregnant and nursing women.
- Vitamin C with flavonoids: 1000 mg per day (including 500 mg of bioflavonoids)
- Bilberry extract: 160 to 340 mg per day